When coronavirus hit the city and schools were closed, Danielle Chung had to stop working as an Uber driver so she could take care of her kids.
“Prices are skyrocketing for some of the things, so if you can get help make ends meet, it’s wonderful,” the Crown Heights, Brooklyn, resident said Tuesday while in line with her two sons at the Campaign Against Hunger food pantry.
Mayor de Blasio visited the site to tout $25 million in recent city funding for pantries facing a huge surge in demands as hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers lose their jobs.
“People right now are afraid,” Hizzoner said. “This is like nothing we’ve experienced.
“Even if it’s one more person we have to reach, we’re going to reach that person, no matter what it takes.”
The mayor’s office did not have stats on the increase in demand in the city’s pantries. Last week, de Blasio and the City Council announced emergency funding for pantries after about a third of them shuttered in recent weeks, according to the Met Council on Jewish Poverty, one of the city’s biggest charities.
The Campaign Against Hunger pantry expected to serve more than 6,400 households this week, according to director Dr. Melony Samuels. She said more than 500 families were expected Tuesday, double the usual number.
“What we’ve been seeing since COVID-19 is astronomical,” Samuels said. “The increase is because of loss of jobs. Unemployment, we understand what it is.
“We know that even after things look like they’ve settled, there will still be a long line because families will not be adjusting yet,” she added.
Standing in a long line in which people tried to observe social distancing, Stephanie Rodriguez of Bushwick said her family was reeling since she lost her job as a college assistant and a relative died.
“The food will help us, for real,” she said. “The supermarkets right now — the prices are up for everything. This can help us throughout the whole time.”
Albany has also dedicated $25 million to food pantries.
Asked what steps the city will take to maintain the fight against hunger, de Blasio spokeswoman Laura Feyer said, “We are continuing to monitor the needs of emergency food providers and encourage anyone in need to visit nyc.gov/GetFood for resources.”