Food Is A Right, Not A Fight

June 03, 2024  |  by Maggie Prendergast   |  

On May 23, Food Bank For New York City organized a rally on the steps of City Hall to oppose possible city budget cuts to the Community Food Connection (CFC), a vital, city-funded program that provides food to over 500 food pantries and soup kitchens across New York City.  

Mayor Eric Adams has proposed a 50% cut in the budget to the program, which would be catastrophic for New Yorkers who rely on food assistance programs. Food Bank rallied with our friends at United Way of New York City, City Harvest, The Roundtable, NY Common Pantry, Vision Urbana, The Fortune Society, The Broadway Community, Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen, Project Hospitality, and Los Sures Comida to urge Mayor Adams to restore full funding for food assistance programs.   

FoodBankCityHall169 (1)Food Bank President & CEO Leslie Gordon hosted the rally.

These organizations were joined by nearly one hundred advocates, direct service providers, and concerned New Yorkers who called on lawmakers to restore adequate funding for services including increased support for food pantries and soup kitchens and expanded access to grocery benefits like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), that assist the nearly 1.2 million New Yorkers experiencing food insecurity.   

The message to Mayor Adams was loud and clear: stop the budget cuts and fully fund the CFC. 

FoodBankCityHall777More than one hundred advocates joined the rally.

Food Bank President & CEO Leslie Gordon kicked off the rally with an impassioned speech. “We find ourselves at a critical juncture today, the mayor’s intention to cut funding for a vital food program by nearly a half closes an unprecedented threat to the fabric of our city’s food assistance network.” According to the NYC True Cost Of Living Report, half of New York City families (even when the adults in the household are working) struggle to afford essentials like healthy food, childcare, healthcare, and housing costs. The CFC provides a lifeline for families who struggle to truly afford the living costs of our city, and is an essential part of the safety net of food assistance programs that keep New Yorkers fed.

Mohammad Razvi, founder of Council Of Peoples Organization, the largest halal food pantry in Brooklyn, echoed these thoughts, reminding us that “people say COVID is over, it’s all done... it’s not! Not for our folks, not for our people.” For Razi, the Mayor’s proposed cut to funding for the CFC may reflect a flawed logic that food assistance is less needed after the COVID-19 crisis, when in fact it is needed now more than ever.  

FoodBankCityHall576Mohammad Razvi address the crowd.

Jessica, a Bronx resident and mother of three, spoke from the heart about managing a family on limited resources. “If you’ve ever had to stretch a dollar, you’ll understand the essence of what we often call ‘mom math,’ this isn’t your regular sum game, this is about figuring out how to make ends meet when the sums just don’t add up.” 

“The harsh realities of life in New York City have made [building a strong and healthy family] incredibly difficult," she continued. "Suddenly the very act of caring for my family, something as simple as ensuring there is enough baby formula or diapers feels like an up-the-hill battle. My husband, he’s in a union and recently got a raise, but ironically, that made us ineligible for SNAP and other government related benefits.”

She urged the mayor and elected officials to take action: We need your help and support, families like mine aren’t asking for miracles, we are asking for empathy and action that ensures no family in this great city has to worry about where their next meal is coming from. 

FoodBankCityHall210Jessica (far left) shared her voice with the crowd.

As part of our dynamic approach to empowering every New Yorker to achieve food security for good, Food Bank is committed to advocating for policies and programs that provide the necessary support to those in need. By calling on Mayor Adams and the City Council to secure baseline funding of $60M for the CFC, Food Bank aims to ensure New Yorkers maintain access to healthy food in the face of rising costs.  

Watch the video below to see our community in action at the rally: 


Food Bank Advocates for our Neighbors


To support Food Bank’s work and sign a petition against these proposed budget cuts, click here

More about the Community Food Connection (CFC):  

The Community Food Connection is a city-funded program that provides food to over 500 food pantries and soup kitchens across New York City, including Food Bank’s West Harlem Community Kitchen and Food Pantry.    

 Sources:  The 2023 True Cost of Living Report: Overlooked and Undercounted: Struggling to Make Ends Meet in New York City 2023” - United Way of New York City  

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