De Blasio Says 2 Million New Yorkers Face Food Insecurity Due to Pandemic

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) says the coronavirus pandemic is causing the number of people facing food insecurity to double in the city.

“We’re dealing with an unprecedented crisis,” de Blasio said during his press conference on Thursday. “Before the coronavirus, we thought somewhere around a million people were food insecure and needed food. Now we think that number is 2 million or more.”

That would mean that one in four New Yorkers is facing food insecurity.

In response to the new crisis, de Blasio said he had appointed Kathryn Garcia — the city’s sanitation commissioner — to serve as “food czar” to help city officials distribute meals to hungry New Yorkers.

“This is an enormous operation,” Garcia said, adding, “It’s really nothing like anything that’s been done in this city or I would say probably across the world.”

City officials say the operation, which is estimated to cost $170 million, will provide meals that certain religious restrictions. Additionally, officials said they have distributed 32 million meals since early-March.

De Blasio said, “Think about the working people, middle-class people who were doing everything right, and suddenly their job isn’t there anymore, and they don’t have that paycheck, and they don’t have enough money to feed their family.” 

De Blasio’s comments come as the latest unemployment report found that another 2.4 million Americans filed for unemployment benefits last week. That report brought the total number of unemployment claims filed over the past nine weeks to 38.6 million.

A separate study found that nearly half of American households reported losing employment income since states began implementing lockdown orders.  

Published in IJR