By SANDRA ALMONTE
On the brink of the holidays, local feeding charities face longer lines as a result of federal food stamp cuts, officials said on Tuesday.
According to the 2014 annual hunger survey of the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, 92.9 percent of food pantries and soup kitchens reported an increase in numbers of clients, as a result of cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), during a meeting at the Human Resources Administration office.
“Half those agencies said they had to ration food, they had to turn people away, reduce the hours of operation, and reduce their portion size because they were just swarmed by this tilde wave of these counter-productive federal cuts,” said Executive Director Joel Berg.
The recent SNAP cuts, nearly $14 billion over the last year, reduced the average household food benefits in New York City by $19 per month, equaling a $228 reduction in groceries per year, officials said.
Aurelia Moran has been receiving food stamps since her husband of 27 years, a veteran of the Korean, Vietnam, and Kuwait Wars, died in 2012. Moran, who lives with their two daughters in the East Village, saw her food stamp benefits dropped to $110. “I’m still waiting for my husbands benefits,” Moran said. “I barely have enough to survive…I go to soup kitchens and food pantries.”
As food insecurity and hunger remain at high recession levels, many community members have advocated on their own behalf.
“I’ve been homeless before, but this doesn’t have to be about me,” said Darrell Bristow, a Food Action Board Member. “I’m here on behalf of the people that can’t be here.”