Hunger is taking a heavier toll on Queens and has reached crisis proportions across the city.
Poor borough families have been scrambling for years to find adequate food, but the federal government’s decision to cut funding for its food stamp program has had dire consequences for Queens and the other boroughs.
The City Council found that nearly half the city’s food pantries and soup kitchens are sending people away because they lack the food to feed them.
For the first time, the Council has stepped into the breach and is launching a $1.3 million drive to help restock food banks.
Julissa Ferreras and I. Daneek Miller are among 33 Council members leading the initiative in honor of Mother Teresa’s 104th birthday by urging constituents to donate non-perishable foodstuffs at drop-off sites.
Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito blamed supply shortages and rising food costs for depleting food pantries’ resources.
Feeding a family relying on food stamps can be a challenge now that the average benefit has been reduced to $1.40 per meal for each person. Many recipients belong to the ranks of the working poor, juggling jobs to squeeze the rent and food out of their paychecks.
It’s important that the Council succeed with its mission, which in our case depends on the generosity and empathy of the people who live in Queens and are in a more fortunate place at this time in their lives.
The G Rides Again
Queens is finally hooked up with Brooklyn again, thanks to the restoration of G line service after a five-week outage to repair major Sandy damage in the tunnel.
Riders huff and puff about the G even though the MTA was flush enough recently to boost the number of trains to seven and a half an hour from six and establish set stops on the platforms rather than random spots.
But when the often-maligned trains stopped rolling in late July, the 100,000 straphangers who jump on the G every week were reduced to shuttle bus service.
The G has been welcomed back because Court Square and 21st Street have a rail connection to Brooklyn.
The G is the only main line that does not run into Manhattan, so it could be considered a symbol of outerborough solidarity shuttling riders between Long Island City and Williamsburg.