MANHATTAN — In the shadow of the Upper West Side's iconic Lincoln Center, the Food Bank for New York City fed hundreds of families on Thursday.
Leelanee Sterrett is one of dozens of musicians who volunteered to play music for the pop up pantry. She knows the people here are hurting.
“When we go through hard times, we need those moments of connection more than ever," Sterrett said. "It’s important show up for these people."
Sandra Heyward was with her mom Christine, who lives nearby in the New York City Housing Authority's Amsterdam Houses. Heyward said this food is a lifeline.
“A lot of people are suffering. I think the seniors are suffering the most,” said Heyward.
Everyone in line has a story, Janis Robinson with the Food Bank for NYC said. Robinson is leading a five borough food distribution tour during Hunger Action month. The group fed hundreds of families already this month in Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx.
The pandemic has hit Manhattan hard: 12.2% of Manhattan residents and 14.6% of children in Manhattan are food insecure. Manhattan now has a 15.9% unemployment rate; that’s up from 3.7% last year.
Since the start of the pandemic, 13% of food pantries and soup kitchens in the Manhattan have closed due to lack of funding.
The fifth stop on the tour is Sunday, Sept. 27 at the New York Hall of Science in Queens at 11 a.m.