Food Insecurity

As New Yorkers struggle with rising costs for food and other necessities, food insecurity rates in the city remain near historic highs.

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, New York City was facing a profound hunger crisis—particularly in the marginalized communities that City Harvest has long served. 

Prior to the pandemic, 2.4 million New Yorkers were struggling to make ends meet. Nearly 1.2 million New Yorkers were experiencing food insecurity, including one in five New York City children. 

Those numbers surged during the pandemic and remain at historic highs. Nearly 1.5 million New Yorkers now experience food insecurity, including one in four children.

People experiencing food insecurity may not know when or where their next meal will come from. Often, this may be a reflection of a household’s inability to afford basic necessities—such as rent, utilities, insurance, or medical bills—before adding in their grocery budget. A family or household may experience food insecurity for a brief period of time (for example, while a parent is between jobs) or for much longer (for example, a senior living on a fixed income). 

The COVID-19 pandemic and resultant economic crisis have made New York City’s hunger crisis even worse. Food insecurity has surged 36 percent citywide during the pandemic—and 46 percent among children, according to Feeding America. But hunger doesn’t fall equally across the city. It hits particularly hard in the communities of color that have been disproportionately harmed by decades of policy inequities and systemic failures. 

No New Yorker—no matter who they are or where they come from—should have to worry about where their next meal will come from. 

City Harvest is committed to helping feed every New Yorker who finds themselves in need of food assistance now and in the decades to come.