Fighting food insecurity in New York

The soup kitchen at Holy Apostles Church in Chelsea is open five days a week and is always packed. For many, this is likely the only meal they'll have this day.

This week, anti-hunger advocates released sobering findings on the status of food insecurity in New York City.

"Over a million New Yorkers don't always know where their next meal is coming from," Hunger Free America CEO Joel Berg said. "Hundreds of thousands of New York City children can't afford, through their families, the healthiest food."

That breaks down to about one in eight city residents.

Manhattan resident Susan Resch applied to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, when she found herself struggling to eat.

"Soon I'll probably be able to get off of SNAP and that will be a success," she said. "But in the meantime, I really appreciate the help."

Brooklyn resident Francesca Little and daughter Mya attended a turkey giveaway on Monday. The mother of four said she'll go without before seeing her children do so.

"They understand. Sometimes people help us, sometimes they don't," Little said. "And they understand that whatever help we can get is very appreciated and they understand that it helps. It helps a lot."

Food pantries also seeing an uptick in assistance. God's Love We Deliver, one of the busiest, serves all five boroughs.  

"Day in and day out and we are working with people who certainly are food insecure and hungry but what distinguishes what God's Loves does is we work with people who are sick on top of that," CEO Karen Pearl said.

Berg said that food insecurity numbers appear to be declining across the tristate region as a whole. But federal cuts to funding for nutrition assistance programs remain a threat, he said.

"Now that there's new, more progressive majority in the House of Representatives and some true progressive champions, we hope finally the attention will be on ending hunger," Berg said. "Not punishing poor people for the crime of being poor."