On Sunday, January 26, Monsignor Kevin Sullivan met with the leaders of other emergency food providers and Senator Kirsten Gillibrand at the Food Bank for New York City warehouse in the Bronx. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the impending further cuts of billions of dollars to supplemental nutrition assistance programs (SNAP) by the federal government.
The network of Catholic Charities agencies and programs are a significant part of the efforts to address the issue of hunger and food insufficiency. In fact, the roundtable discussion took place on the same day as the kickoff of Catholic Charities annual Feeding our Neighbors campaign, an archdiocesan–wide effort to replenish food pantries and respond to the overwhelming need in our New York community.
“It’s just sort of a simple, homemade approach to a big problem,” said Cardinal Dolan recently in support of the campaign. “Everybody talks about hunger and how bad it is, and our politicians argue about it, debate about it, but the faith community said, ‘Let’s do something about it.’ ”
“The meeting confirmed what Catholic Charities has been experiencing across our own network of emergency food programs throughout the communities in the New York metropolitan area,” said Monsignor Sullivan. “Since November, after cutbacks in support of ongoing nutrition assistance programs [$5 billion nationwide], we have seen a surge in working families visiting our programs.”
In Washington Heights for example, people have begun lining up before 7am to make sure they can obtain food for their families. Catholic Charities has over 4,000 families registered for food assistance but only enough food to serve 1,000 families in need each month.
Volunteer efforts and food drives can only do so much to address the overwhelming need. They cannot come close to replacing the need for government resources and assistance for families struggling to put food on the table.