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WPIX 11: NYC food pantries struggling in days before Thanksgiving

BEDFORD-STUYVESANT, Brooklyn — Despite Bed-Stuy’s growing reputation a gentrified hotspot for trendy bars and pricey real estate, the Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger operates one of the largest and busiest food pantries in the city. The staff here wrapped up another day and night serving 500 plus visitors. The demand is putting a massive strain on their supplies.

Jackie Minton stood patiently in line Tuesday night waiting for food supplies she will use to make her family’s Thanksgiving dinner.

“When you’re short in the month, you come here,” said Minton.

Her presence here at the Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger’s food pantry is a choice made out of necessity.

“Sometimes you don’t get paid enough. Sometimes you don’t have all of it. And if you can find a place like this, that will help you meet,” said Minton.

The problem is, it is becoming increasing difficult for places like this to continue serving their communities, thanks in large part to cuts in government funding.

A newly released research report from the Food Bank of New York City, co-authored by Triada Stampas, shows a six percent increase (29 percent  to 25 percent) from last year in the number of food pantries that turned people away due to food shortages.

There’s also been a seven percent increase (49 percent to 56 percent ) in the number of food pantries that actually ran out of food.

“What sounds like compromise in the halls of the capital looks like sacrifice on the streets of our city,” said Stampas.

Executive Director Dr. Melony Samuels says her staff struggles to serve Bed-Stuy’s population of working poor as a result of a drastic cut in funding.

“The last time I checked, we had 50 percent more new families that have never accessed us before, than we had in the previous months,” said Dr. Samuels.

Dr. Samuels is incredibly worried about what the future holds. She says at this pace of neighborhood service, and without a new infusion of supplies and donations – the Campaign Against Hunger food pantry will run out of food – a week or two before Christmas.