WPCNR COMMUNITY FORUM. From The Food Bank for Westchester and Stop & Shop, White Plains. July 24, 2017:
The Food Bank for Westchester and Stop & Shop will hold a public policy forum to address the issues of food insecurity and “Hidden Hunger” in Westchester at 11am on Thursday, July 26th at the Stop & Shop located at 154 Westchester Avenue in White Plains.
The Policy Forum will be co- chaired by Leslie Gordon, the President and CEO of the Food Bank for Westchester and Bob Yager, the Senior Vice President and Division Lead of Stop & Shop’s New York Metro Division. Participating will be:
Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino
White Plains Mayor Tom Roach
Assembly Member David Buchwald
New York State Senator Andrea Stewart-Cousins
John Ravitz, Executive Vice President/COO, Business Council of Westchester
Dr. Mona Kennedy, New York-Presbyterian Medical Group/Westchester
Carrie Mobley-Johnson, Westchester County’s Faith-Based Partnership Initiative
Approximately 200,000 Westchester residents are at risk of hunger or facing food insecurity. Twenty-nine percent of those are children; there are 25,000 Westchester grade school children who receive free or reduced lunch. These children need food over the weekends and on vacations.
22% of Westchester residents who are at risk of hunger or facing food insecurity are senior citizens, and as our population gets older, we will see the numbers of hard to reach “seniors in need” increase.
The Food Bank for Westchester serves 300 frontline programs and supplies 95% of all food distributed annually across the region’s food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and daycare and residential programs – delivering over 8.4 million pounds of food and 7 million meals to people.
Westchester is New York State’s wealthiest suburban county, but according to New York State data, more than 90,000 residents live in poverty.
- Westchester County is, in many ways, a microcosm of New York State economics where wealth is deeply concentrated and poverty is higher than both the national average and the average of any other Northern state.
- Income inequality in Westchester is pronounced: the top fifth earns 20 times what the bottom fifth earns. This is one of the widest income gaps in the nation.
- Westchester’s reputation has promoted a false perception of affluence, and as a consequence, economic insecurity is underreported and often dismissed.
- Poverty remains invisible to some of the county’s very own residents.
- 9.6% of Westchester residents live under the poverty level.
- 12.3% of Westchester children live under the poverty level.
- 7.9% of senior citizens live under the poverty level.
The experts will examine avenues to deliver more fruits, vegetables, protein and dairy products to food insecure residents since malnutrition and diabetes usually accompany food insecurity.