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More New Yorkers in need of food

Yacine Simporé | 11/29/2011, 3:06 p.m.

Are you more strapped for food lately?

City Harvest, the world's first food rescue organization, has reported a 25% increase for the demand for food in New York City since 2008. City Harvest's data shows that out of the 221 partner food agencies, 77% saw an increase in visits from 2008 to 2011. Hunger relief agencies have seen a 35% increase in visits made by children. Agencies also report a 25% rise in visits made by seniors.

All boroughs saw a surge in visits, but the Bronx had the biggest hike, at 53%. Queens and Brooklyn follow with a 29% increase, Staten Island at 25%, and Manhattan at 12%.

"We've been having trouble replenishing our stocks lately because the food goes so fast. Mostly it's new faces. Some people have lost jobs, and some are working but can't make ends meet. Others have been cut off Medicaid or food stamps so they're coming here." said Reverend Martha Overall, who works at St. Ann's Food Pantry and Soup Kitchen in the Bronx, in a press release. "While in the past years, 90% of the people who visited food pantries were on welfare, Overall says: "Now, this rate is minimal."

Today, City Harvest is trying to meet the higher need by pledging to rescue at least 8.5 million pounds of food through January. It also distributes excess food from a variety of private sources, stocking the shelves of 600 food pantries and soup kitchens throughout the five boroughs of New York City.