April 15, 2020 By Allie Griffin
The Mayor is launching a $170 million initiative to feed hungry New Yorkers–many of whom have lost their jobs or income due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“We’re dealing with an unprecedented challenge in terms of people needing food, so we’re going to create an unprecedented response,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a press briefing today.
Before the coronavirus outbreak, 1.2 million people were unable to consistently put food on the table each day, according to the mayor. This included one in five children.
They mayor said more New Yorkers are going hungry following the mass layoffs caused by COVID-19. He estimated that half a million New Yorkers have lost–or will lose–their jobs and many are struggling to pay for groceries.
“If you have no money, how do you get food?” de Blasio said. “We know that the massive unemployment that we’re experiencing is literally every zip code, every part of this city.”
The city will increase the amount of food available to those in need. The mayor said the food will be distributed through its existing network of food pantries and soup kitchens– and the city will find new ways to get it to the hungry.
For instance, the mayor said the city will hire 11,000 TLC-registered drivers to deliver 100,000 meals a day to people in need who cannot leave their homes. Recipients will include the elderly, NYCHA residents and the medically fragile.
The drivers will be paid per shift and get money back in their pockets to feed their own families, de Blasio said.
The city will also create a New York City food emergency reserve in case of a disruption to the food supply chain. The reserve will have 18 million shelf-stable meals, the mayor said.
The new initiatives build upon earlier efforts from the Mayor including the grab-and-go meals being offered for free at 400 schools/meal hubs, as well as 30,000 meal deliveries to seniors.
“We will not let anyone go hungry,” de Blasio. “If anyone in your life needs food, we will get it to them.”
New Yorkers who need food assistance can visit nyc.gov/getfood or call 311.