Deb Gordon’s guest was Joel Berg, Executive Director of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH), which is an umbrella group for over a thousand soup kitchens and pantries that serve more than 1.5 million New Yorkers who are below the poverty line and face hunger. NYCCAH also provides advocacy work, education and research, and mobilizes volunteers to help our communities “move beyond the soup kitchen”.
Provided data about New York’s hungry and homeless populations and addressed the adverse effects the recent sequestration cuts will have on the issue. Also, discussed the growing number of homelessness in New York and spotlighted the recent report showing a 75% increase in the number of homeless people in the city. This data mirrors the increasing number of New Yorkers who are food insecure and hungry, and is especially daunting data considering the fact that New York is also a city with a growing number of millionaires (and billionaires). Discussed the disparity between these two populations and offered some long-term solutions to the problem.
Mr. Berg also discussed the perception many people have regarding the homeless and hungry as panhandlers on the street, when in fact women and children make up a large part of the homeless and hungry population. The New York City Coalition Against Hunger works to ensure children are fed, especially in the summer when school is out by offering resources to make it easier for children and parents to access meals, especially in the summer, when school is out. The meals are free to all children up to age 18 who needs it, with no paperwork or other requirements necessary.
Also, spotlighted a recent documentary about the hungry in America, titled A Place at the Table, which Mr. Berg describes as an entertaining film that helps the public understand what the problems are and lays out the solutions. NYCCAH will host 2 special screenings and panel discussions about the film on April 3rd at the Museum of the Moving Image, and April 11th at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. The movie can also be downloaded online.
For more information about the New York City Coalition Against Hunger and to learn how you can help make a difference, visit www.nyccah.org.
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