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NYC Comptroller Scott Stringer echoes calls for $25 million for emergency food program

Originally published in NY Daily News.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer on Sunday echoed calls for a new $25 million funding boost for food relief, part of a package of proposals to address the crisis.

The city ran out of $25 million in emergency hunger funding at the end of last year, prompting leading charities to demand another infusion.

Stringer said the city should tap Federal Emergency Management Agency funds to “serve undocumented New Yorkers left out of federal and state safety net programs.”

“There is no excuse for a single person to go hungry in one of the wealthiest cities in the world, yet more than 1.6 million New Yorkers go to bed hungry in our city every night,” Stringer said in a statement.

He said the $25 million could come from federal cash that’s available since President Biden lifted the cap on reimbursements to cities and states for pandemic-related costs.

Stringer, who’s running for mayor in the June Democratic primary, also said the city should stop offering food that’s unpalatable for some New Yorkers.

“Many New Yorkers still do not find food that they want to eat or know how to cook with through the city’s programs,” he stated.

He called for more fresh fruits and veggies at city-run sites and for “culturally relevant” options.

The city should “continue to improve the quality and diversity of kosher and halal food options in both Get Food boxes and grab-and-go meals,” Stringer stated.

Since last year, 400,000 New Yorkers have joined the ranks of the food-insecure, according to the city — a surge fueled by widespread layoffs and a slow economic recovery.

Meanwhile, many food pantries have closed, leading Stringer to urge the city to determine which neighborhoods are underserved and fill any gaps.

He also envisioned a program to get around some retailers’ requirements for a minimum purchase size for deliveries. The program would let neighbors combine their purchases.

That “would be a lifeline to NYCHA residents who cannot afford steep minimums and delivery charges when ordering food from online retailers,” stated Christina Johnson, president of the Lexington Houses Tenant Association.