That in and of itself is unacceptable.
Now Congress is considering cutting funding to several key programs that provide food assistance to hungry New Yorkers. New York's representatives in the federal government can't allow that to happen.
Between 2009 and 2010, the number of households struggling to put food on the table in New York State actually increased by four percent, while the national average actually fell slightly.
In New York City, the lowest-income residents are already faced with a high cost of living. Each month, they have to find new and creative ways to survive as rents continue to rise, the cost of prescription drugs and healthcare skyrocket, and food gets more and more expensive at the same time government cuts vital programs aimed to help them get by.
In the land of plenty, the last thing that these struggling New Yorkers should have to worry about is how they are going to feed themselves and their families. When a person goes hungry, it affects their demeanor and their ability to contribute meaningfully to society. That affects us all.
The Food Bank of New York helps 1.4 million New Yorkers who can't afford to feed themselves and their families. If the cuts currently proposed by Congress are approved, the Food Bank estimates they will have to cut the services they provide by one-sixth.
That doesn't sound like much, but that would mean some 230,000 New Yorkers would have to find a new way to simply eat. Our representatives in Washington, D.C. can't let this happen.
In one of the greatest countries in the world, if we can't simply provide the means for everybody to eat – we're not talking about providing a fancy car for every resident or a luxury condo, we're simply talking about food – then our government has failed us. We've all failed.