The stock market and luxury housing construction aren't the only things on the upswing in the Big Apple: so is hunger, according to a new report issued by the New York City Coalition Against Hunger.
"While the wealthy have better gourmet food than ever, one in six of our neighbors is struggling against hunger," said Joel Berg, the coalition's executive director, in a statement.
Food pantries and soup kitchens saw a 10% increase in demand this year, following a 5% increase in 2012, 12% in 2011, 7% in 2010 and 29% in 2009 -- all while federal funding to alleviate the problems has been almost halved, the report said. One in five NYC kids (and 48.91% in the Bronx) are now hungry or at risk of hunger, as are 10% of the city's seniors.
The findings, released Tuesday, advocated incoming Mayor Bill de Blasio's proposal for universal prekindergarten, pointing out such efforts "reduce child hunger because pre-K programs provide nutritious meals funded by the federal government."
The statistics were collected before the latest federal cuts to the food stamp program, which are expected to additionally worsen things for hungry New Yorkers.
"It is unconscionable that New York City's soup kitchens and food pantries have experienced a 10% rise in demand at a time when more than 57% of them have been devastated by cuts in government and private funding," said Manhattan Borough President Scott M. Stringer, the city comptroller-elect, in a statement.
Statewide, there has been a 40% jump in food insecurity between the 2000-02 and the 2010-12 periods of measurement.