Food Bank
Food Bank
Food Bank
200 Clearbrook Rd
Elmsford, NY 10523
Telephone: (914) 923-1100 | Office Fax: (914) 923-1198 | Warehouse Fax: (914) 923-3801


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About Hunger


Hunger & Poverty Statistics

Hunger in Westchester County, New York.
The Food Bank for Westchester estimates that approximately 200,000 people; women, children and men are at risk of hunger or hungry in Westchester County, New York. We based this estimate on the raw service provision numbers that Food Bank member agencies provide the Food Bank for Westchester on a monthly basis. We believe that approximately one half of that number uses the Westchester emergency food network regularly, while the rest, sporadically.

Below please find information on poverty and how that translates to our region:   Based on the federal poverty level, the 2005 US Census data determines that Westchester has a poverty rate of 8.8 % or approximately 83,000 people are living on an income at or below federal poverty level.

The federal poverty level for 2006 1
$20,000 for a family of 4
$16,600 for a family of 3
$13,200 for a family of 2

The median household income in Westchester is $71,800 2
Median Household Income Westchester: 71,800
Poverty Level (for Public Assistance Programs) 20,000
HUD Extremely Low Income Definition (30% of Median) 21,540
HUD Very Low Income Definition (50% of Median) 35,900
HUD Low Income Definition (80% of Median) 57,440


Total Number of Households in Westchester
333,190 3
Number Households at or Below Median

Household Income
# Households
% of Total
Below Median
% of Total
Less than 10,000
10,000 to 14,999
15,000 to 24,999
25,000 to 34,999
35,000 to 49,999
50,000 to 74,999


Percent of Households Below Poverty
Percent of Households at Extremely Low Income Levels
Percent of Households at Very Low Income Levels
Percent of Households at Low Income Levels

Some facts about low- income children and their families:
This material is copied directly from NCCP- National Center for Children in Poverty, “Basic Facts about Low-Income Children- birth to Age 18”, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health

Is a poverty level income enough to support a family?

Research suggests that, on average, families need an income equal to about two times the federal poverty level to meet their most basic needs. 4 Families with incomes below this level are often referred to as low income:

40,000 for a family of 4
33,200 for a family of 3
26,400 for a family of 2

These figures approximate the average minimum income families need to make ands meet, but actual expenses vary greatly by locality. For a family of 4, the cost of basic family expenses is $36,000 per year in Houston, $40,000 in Chicago, and $49,000 in Hartford. 5    

Based on the US Census data and the research by the NCCP the Food Bank for Westchester estimates that in Westchester a family of 4 would need to earn a minimum of  $55,000 to meet the most minimal basic needs. 

  1. These numbers are from the federal poverty guidelines issued annually by the US Department of Health and Human Services.
  2. US Census Bureau- Westchester County, New York Selected Economic Characteristics: 2005
  3. US Census Bureau- Westchester County, New York Selected Economic Characteristics: 2005
  4. Bernstein, J: Brocht, C: & Spade-Aguilar, M, (2000) How Much is enough? Basic Family Budget for working families. Washington, DC: Economic Policy Institute.
  5. These figures are derived from the NCCP’s Family Resource Simulator.

NOTE: The information above is from the National Center for Children in Poverty’s demographic fact sheet series updated annually. Estimates, unless otherwise noted are prepared by  Ayana Douglas- Hall, Michelle Chau, Heather Kobal. The numbers are from the federal poverty guidelines issued annually by the US Department of Health and Human Services. The demographic findings in this fact sheet were calculated using more complex versions of the federal poverty measure- the thresholds issued by the US Census Bureau. 

Document rev. 2/2007


Hunger is a national problem, affecting an estimated 30 million Americans. One in nine are hungry. There is no “typical” hungry person. Rather, he or she looks like the rest of us and is usually someone who, due to some unforeseen events, finds him/herself needing help.

Working people are the largest segment of our population in need of food assistance, and that segment just keeps growing…… called the “working poor” they are hard working adults who have lost their jobs or are underemployed; seniors who can’t survive on their retirement incomes; the disabled, who cannot work; and children. Hunger creates and exacerbates health problems, causing deteriorating productivity. We are all impacted by hunger!

Consider this: if you worked at an average entry-level service industry job (such as a cashier, janitor, car wash attendant, gardener or restaurant service staff) at $7.25 per hour for a 40-hour week, your annual income would be $15,080. And, you’d also have the following basic expenses for the year:


Taxes ( FICA, Federal and New York State 2,490.00
Rent – average Westchester 1 bedroom apartment @1,000.00 12,000.00
Public Transportation –16.00 a week ( to and from work only) 832.00
Utilities, Phone  80.00 per month 960.00
TOTAL 16,282.00
Total annual income 15,080.00
Deficit 1,202.00


These expenses amount to $16,282- creating a deficit of $1,202 for year, without adding in food and groceries, clothing, childcare, medical expenses and other necessities. The result is people doing without food when available income does not or cannot meet normal basic expenses.

The hungry poor and working poor reflect the reality that “working hard is often not enough” to keep head above water in Westchester County. And that is where the Food Bank for Westchester can help. From a soup kitchen in Yonkers, to children at day care centers in Peekskill, to teenage mothers in Mount Vernon, or seniors having lunch at a residential facility in New Rochelle, the goal of the Food Bank for Westchester is to provide food assistance to those who need it. These are some examples of our neighbors and co-workers who depend on us:

  • Marie, Age 38 - A single mom with 2 kids, Marie has a good job as an administrative assistant at a major corporation in Westchester. At least once a month, Marie visits the White Plains food pantry to collect three bags of groceries that will help bridge the gap after paying her rent and utilities and her next paycheck.

  • Joey, Age 8 - Although he is a student at the top of his class, Joey’s parents have enrolled him in remedial summer school. Why? Because the program offers a free hot lunch, a meal that his parents simply can’t provide because they have to pay for utilities instead. They know in time their incomes will increase, hopefully higher than taxes and basic expenses, but right now they are barely able to keep their heads above water.

  • Bill, Age 69 - Since his wife passed away three years ago, Bill has lived alone on a fixed income. Because his diabetes medication is so expensive, Bill relies on a senior lunch program for his main meal of the day. He also collects a bag of groceries from the food pantry once a month. He especially likes the fresh produce. 


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