The countries largest all-vegetarian hunger relief food programme Community Solidarity donated ten of thousands of pounds of groceries in Hempstead Long Island, New York, as part of its efforts to help those in need
The nonprofit says they have seen a huge increase in demand as more families face issues of hunger and food insecurity due to the economic fallout from the pandemic “We have never seen this before,” said Jon Stepanian, chief executive at Community Solidarity. “Some of the families are in tears when they come to us.”
Community Solidarity has been distributing food weekly at several places such as Hempstead, Huntington Station, Wyandanch, Farmingville, and Brooklyn.
The organisation used to serve 3,000 families directly an is now serving 10,000 Stepanian said, which shows the increasing demand. In addition to the food people receive, Community Solidary now offers a drive-up service with lines of case stretching over a mile long
Organisers noted that more than 1.6 million state residents have filed for unemployment in the past six weeks. News reports have shown food pantry lines stretching for miles following the outbreak of COVID-19.
On Sunday, the group distributed over 67,000 pounds of boxed food to over 1,800 families, which would typically be 800 at its Hempstead site. The boxes contain a mix of fresh produce and whole grains
“We have a 24/7 emergency hotline and we used to get maybe 5 or 10 calls a day and now we get over 100 calls a day. One day we had close to 200,” Stepanian said.
Anyone interested in volunteering or donating can go to the group’s website at communitysolidarity.org.
In New York City, Mayor Bill DeBlasio said the city is planning to deliver up to one million meals every day to residents struggling.
During the mayor’s coronavirus briefing, he said that the city’s GetFood Delivery Assistance Program will need some help expanding deliveries from 3.1 million meals a week to 1 million meals per day.
“No New Yorker will go hungry,” DeBlasio said.
DeBlasio said the city hopes to work with more NGOs to hire 300 people to manage meal distribution sites, and he also asked the restaurant industry and either business with commercial kitchen capacity to help with the effort
The program will focus on providing culturally sensitive and ethnic foods, especially for those of the East Asian, South Asian, and Caribbean communities. says DeBlasio
“We are going to make sure people are fed,” de Blasio said. “If we can help people to have some of the food they are familiar with, that is even better.” De Blasio said the city needs help in delivering meals.
Visit nyc.gov/nonprofits. if you feel like helping