What to Know
- New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio announced on Wednesday a $170 million plan to help feed New Yorkers struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic -- paying particular attention to children, the elderly and those who are homebound
- The multi-million plan includes: hiring 11,000 TLC drivers to deliver meals; earmarking $50 million for an emergency food supply; and pledging to provide PPE to grocery store workers
- Long lines of New Yorkers waiting outside food banks where seen throughout the city as the COVID-19 crisis continues
New York City Mayor Bill De Blasio announced on Wednesday a $170 million plan to help feed New Yorkers struggling during the COVID-19 pandemic -- paying particular attention to children, the elderly and those who are homebound.
It has become a common sight: long lines to city soup kitchens.
People wrap around the block outside First Baptist Church in East Elmhurst, which is serving hundreds more people than it normally does.
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“It was increasing before but now it’s really because a lot of people are laid off," First Baptist Church Rev. Patrick Young said. "We average 200 families on Saturday, 100 families on Wednesday."
The long lines are filled with people waiting for a grab and go meal and, maybe, some fresh produce.
“The line is gonna come in more and more so we need more food,” Louis, from East Elmhurst said.
Jose Castillo, also from East Elmhurst, added: “That’s important for everybody. Many people don’t have money for buying food.”
In Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn another mobile market is working. This one is run by City Harvest, which has made a point to try to reach the city’s NYCHA communities.
“Somewhere in the neighborhood of a half-million New Yorkers have lost their livelihood in just the last few weeks, and money's running out," De Blasio said.
Because of this jarring fact, de Blasio laid out a $170 million dollar plan Wednesday to combat hunger, which includes: hiring 11,000 TLC drivers to deliver meals; earmarking $50 million for an emergency food supply; and pledging to provide PPE to grocery store workers.
“I want to just say thank you to them first, you know, they are among the groups of unsung heroes in this fight," de Blasio said of the grocery story workers. "This is something that's going to have a huge positive effect on people doing the work, but even more they're doing something absolutely crucial to help the vulnerable, the most vulnerable among us."
In all, the city plans to provide 10 millions meals in April alone. NYC's Sanitation Commissioner Kathyrn Garcia is leading the mission as the city's food czar through the crisis.
"We have moved city staff to support our pantries who are short on volunteers," Garcia said, noting that many of the volunteers are older and are under isolation being an at-risk population for COVID-19. "We have a lot of work to do but as the mayor said, we will not let New Yorkers go hungry."
Meanwhile, in Midtown another effort exists to combat hunger.
Diana Lee and Matt Woodruff are behind Do Good Auto Coalition, urging car dealers to donate cars and drivers to help deliver food to those in need.
Even luxurious vehicles are stepping up -- Maserati is on board. Volunteers were seen loading the luxury cars with excess food from local restaurants.
"There should be from 1,000 to 2,000 pounds of food items that would otherwise go unused and be thrown away," Woodruff said.
“If we don’t do what we need to do right now and get the supplies to them there’s gonna be more deaths," Lee said.
The food they picked up ended up at a food bank in Brooklyn, where once again, long lines of people waiting for a meal and waiting for an end to the pandemic were seen.