Almost three-quarters of New Yorkers reported having more trouble buying groceries this year than last year, according to a survey published Monday, underscoring the toll of continued inflation and lapsed food aid.
In the statewide poll, 73% of respondents said they were having more trouble purchasing groceries than they were one year ago, and 59% said they had felt stressed, anxious or depressed by the challenge of buying food.
The digital survey, commissioned by the national nonprofit No Kid Hungryand conducted in early April by Change Research, suggests that even with inflation moderating, high grocery prices continue to crunch New Yorkers and leave many hungry.
The poll of 1,189 New York State residents has a margin of error of 3.3%, according to No Kid Hungry.
“What we found in this survey was heartbreaking, although not necessarily surprising,” said Rachel Sabella, director of No Kid Hungry New York. “The crisis is here, and it’s just getting worse.”
“There are parents and caregivers who sometimes are putting less food on their plate to feed children, or they’re skipping meals,” Sabella said. “This is a problem that’s hitting families everywhere: whether it’s urban, suburban, rural. It’s impacting families in every borough of New York City.”
New York has made progress battling hunger in recent years. The statewide rate of food insecurity dropped after peaking at more than 14% between 2012 and 2014, but it improved only marginally after the start of the pandemic, according to the state comptroller’s office.
About 10% of New York households experienced food insecurity between 2019 and 2021, state Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli’s office reported in March.
The expiration of a long-running, COVID-era boost in food stamp benefits for low-income Americans has threatened to push more people into hunger.
Melony Samuels, the founder and executive director of Brooklyn’s Campaign Against Hunger, a 25-year-old food bank, said her organization has seen a marked increase in women and children lining up for food.
“For poor families and working families and no-income families, it is very hard to put food on the table,” Samuels said. “We cannot take a cut; we need to be restored — SNAP needs to be restored to its fullest.”
House Republicans, meanwhile, are aiming to cut food assistance programs further in federal debt limit negotiations.
The GOP, which narrowly passed a House debt ceiling bill last week, seeks to increase the number of low-income Americans who must work in order to receive benefits through the Supplemental Nutrition Food Assistance Program.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, a New York Democrat, said in a statement that the House bill contained “draconian and disastrous cuts to some of the most basic functions of good government — like critical hunger programs.”
In the statement, Schumer said the measure “shot an arrow right at the Big Apple,” but pledged to swat its enactment.
The legislation is a nonstarter in the Democratic-controlled Senate. The office of House Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a California Republican, did not immediately reply to a request for comment.
In New York, Gov. Hochul, a Democrat, reached a budget agreement with the Legislature last week that would push the minimum wage in New York City from $15 to $17, and then tie future increases to inflation. Progressive lawmakers had sought a higher minimum wage.
Hochul and lawmakers also brokered a $134 million deal covering free meals for New York students.
Source : N Daily News