BROOKLYN - Brooklyn business is booming and rents are skyrocketing, but one in eight Brooklyn residents is living in a household that can't afford enough food.
Mariluz Rodriguez is a single mother living in Cypress Hills with her four children and two grandchildren.
Rodriguez says her fridge had been completely empty a few times, so she found a job in retail.
While she had an income, the rising cost of living and expensive food forced Rodriguez to apply for SNAP, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program--also known as food stamps.
Rodriguez receives almost $600 a month in food stamps for her family of seven. The amount is determined by family size, income and cost of living.
Rodriguez says the $600 is normally not enough, and food gets scarce near the end of the month.
Rodriguez's situation is in stark contrast to the Brooklyn where diners pay $30 a plate or more for a meal and $5 for a latte. And with new high rises popping up across the borough, rents are among the highest in New York City.
In November, the government cut $5 billion from the nation's food stamp budget. The cuts cost New York City hundreds of millions of dollars. For Rodriguez's family, it means about $30 less each month.
Rodriguez has taken an active role on her local Food Action Board through the Coalition Against Hunger. The board allows her to become an advocate for other families in Brooklyn who also struggle to buy enough groceries on food stamps.
The Coalition Against Hunger says about one in three Brooklyn residents eligible for food stamps is not signed up.