Hungry people in Westchester are not necessarily those you would imagine. They come from all walks of life. Some receive public assistance, but large numbers of hungry people in Westchester are children, seniors and the working poor, Many people do hold down jobs but, no matter how hard they work, they are simply earning too little to feed their families and also pay basic expenses. This is especially true since the Great Recession, when many people lost their jobs or their hours or wages were cut.
Consider this: If you work at an average entry-level service-industry job -- as a cashier, janitor, carwash attendant, gardener, or restaurant service staff -- at $9.00 per hour for a 40-hour week, your annual gross income is $18,720. And, you would also have the following basic expenses for the year:
|Taxes (FICA, Federal, NYS)
|Rent (average one-bedroom apartment in Westchester @ $1,100/month)
|Public Transportation (@ $20/week x 50 weeks)
|Utilities and Telephone (@ $120/month)
These basic expenses amount to $19,194 per year, creating an annual deficit of $474 before paying for food and groceries, childcare, doctors, dentists, medications, clothing and shoes, and other necessities. The result is people skimping on food or doing without when available income does not or cannot cover basic expenses.
Almost 53% of the hungry people served by the Food Bank for Westchester live on income at/or below the poverty level. Half of the estimated 200,000 Westchester residents who are hungry or at risk of hunger are seniors; a third are children age 18 or younger.
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.