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City food banks feel weight of funding cut

Emergency food providers across the five boroughs are feeling the strain from a recent cut to the federal food stamp program, according to a report by the Food Bank for New York City released yesterday.

A temporary increase to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program, or SNAP, expired on Nov. 1 and the program was hit with a $5 billion cut.

The loss amounts to an average of $29 per month for a household of three, according to the Independent Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a non-partisan think tank.

According to the report, 85% of food pantries and soup kitchens in the city saw an increase in overall visitors in November. And 26% said they had to turn people away because of insufficient food supplies.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) said food insecurity in New York has reached "disturbing, historic highs."

"I will continue to urge my colleagues in Congress to reject harmful cuts to the SNAP program for the most vulnerable and not balance the budget on the backs of hungry children, seniors and veterans," she said in a statement released in the Food Bank's report.

Gillibrand has publicly rejected additional cuts to the program, which Congress has proposed in an effort to reduce the federal deficit.

Diana Furchtgott-Roth, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, has advocated for cuts to the program. She said to address food insecurity the city should focus on creating jobs by lowering its tax rate and supporting the growth of business.

"It's extremely sad when someone does not have enough to eat," Furchtgott-Roth, a former chief economist at the U.S. Department of Labor, said. "It's a really, really tragic situation. The first thing that these people want, of course, is adequate jobs, good paying jobs, so that they don't have to rely on food stamps."


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