During the holiday season, when people gather to gorge on food and drink, it’s hard to imagine that one in five New York City residents relies on food banks for nourishment. But that’s the case, according to Food Bank NYC.
While many of us grew up on the practice of donating canned goods during the holiday, the practice is outdated. Think about it: Would you want a can of green beens and boiled potatoes to feed your kids, or would you rather visit a local community center serving a hot meal and hopefully, some freshly-cooked vegetables?
Today, food banks are desperate for money. The demand is high, according to NYC Coalition Against Hunger. You can donate there, or directly to an innovative emergency food service in Bedford-Stuyvesant, St. John’s Bread & Life pantry, where people come with food stamps and shop in a grocery-store setting.
If you missed it, check out the latest Edible Brooklyn for an interview of Joel Berg, the executive director of the NYC Coalition Against Hunger and a national hunger activist, who lives in Park Slope. He had this to say, in encouraging people to forget the can donations and volunteer time, and just fork over some dough:
“There’s a huge disconnect between the ways people think about hunger and what’s actually useful. Canned food drives are just about the worst way of fighting the problem. If you’re insistent on direct food delivery, donate money. Places like City Harvest and the Food Bank buy food wholesale or get it donated and just need help with transportation costs, so they get a lot more food for every dollar you donate. Just think about this: If you found out that a lot of people in your neighborhood couldn’t afford their prescription drugs, would go to your medicine cabinet and donate the drugs you don’t need anymore? That’s the paternalism of our current charity system.”