NEW YORK - (AP) - More New York City residents are visiting soupkitchens and food pantries to make ends meet.

That's the news from the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, which says the number of meals food charities served this spring is nine percent higher than at the same time last year.

Citing data from the city Human Resources Administration, the coalition says 1.9 million meals were served in March and April. That's 167,611 more meals than in March and April of 2007.

Soaring food prices and a downturn in the economy are being blamed for the increase.