Cuts to Food Program Hurts NYC's Working Families, Nonprofit Says

Like many single mothers who work in New York City, Amria Gordon struggles to make ends meet.

A mother of four children, Gordon finds that her full-time position as a mental health counselor often falls short of providing enough income for rent, utilities and food.

So it isn't unusual to see the Bedford-Stuyvesant resident walking into the local food pantry.

"It actually puts food on my table," she told NBC 4 New York.

Gordon applied for food stamps but didn't qualify because of her income. And her salary isn't keeping up with the rising cost of food.t

Officials at the Food Bank for New York City point to Gordon and others like her as the reason why they believe the proposed 18 percent reduction in city funding to city's Emergency Food Assistance Program is a serious mistake.

"Twenty percent of the people who come to food pantries and soup kitchens are working," said Triada Stampas, a spokeswoman for the nonprofit. "And that may not be the typical image of the food pantry or soup kitchen when they think of who might be hungry in New York."

De Blasio's budget planners want to reduce the city's contribution to the Emergency Food Assistance Program to $8.2 million. The contribution was $10 million last year.

Melony Samuels, executive director of Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger, said her staff restocks the shelves three times each day because of the demand.

"We are asking for $22 million," she said of the organization's request to the city.

The mayor's officer responded that it is "actively working with partners to increase the capacity and food supply of emergency food programs throughout the five boroughs."

And the city encourages needy families to apply for food stamps.

"We don't qualify," said Crystal Hosanna of Brooklyn. "And without that pantry, we can't make our food budget every month."

Editor's note: This story has been updated to say that cuts are being made to the city's food assistance programs.

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