BEDFORD-STUYVESANT - More New Yorkers are turning to food pantries that are barely scraping by themselves, according to a report released Thursday.
According to The Food Bank For New York City's Hunger Safety Net 2007 study, 1.3 million residents rely on emergency food services. The figure rose 24 percent from the Food Bank's 2004 study.
The increase includes 397,000 children, which is up from 269,000 children in 2004. More residents with higher education and full-time employment also round out the group.
The Food Bank found many people in need suffer from asthma, diabetes and heart disease. Many of them are also U.S. citizens, according to the organization.
Although the Food Bank reports the need for emergency food is increasing, it says funding for programs is decreasing. Additionally, the group says New York has suffered a loss of nearly 12 million pounds of food supplied through the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The group found food pantries and soup kitchens are open two days a week on average compared to three days in 2004. About 47 percent of people are being turned away because pantries run out of food one out of six times they are open.
Advocates want the Senate to pass the 2007 Farm Bill by the end of the year to ease the strain rural farmers face in producing food. The House version passed in July.