SUNSET PARK - About 3.1 million New Yorkers can't afford food, according to a report released Wednesday.

The Food Bank for New York City's study, NYC Hunger Experience Report, found the number of hungry in the city rose 55 percent in 2007 from 2003. The Food Bank NYC says the report highlights that middle-income New Yorkers are among the hardest hit.

The rising cost of living and sky-rocketing food prices are draining the middle class, leading some to turn to food pantries.

?Some folks in the city don?t believe us. They think that there is no way people in the city can?t afford food,? says Aine Duggan, of The Food Bank for NYC.

City officials say part of the problem is that hundreds of thousands of people who are eligible for food stamps don?t know they can receive the aid.