Bronx food pantries in jeopardy as demand rises

MORRIS HEIGHTS, the Bronx — The canned food was neatly stacked and the refrigerator was packed with fresh melons.

The food pantry at BronxWorks' Morris Heights location was stocked with food for its twice a month food giveaway Friday.

But the men and women who rely on the food pantry may not realize the non-profit is in dire need of funds.

"This helps me. The pantry helps me," Carmen Mojer, 76, said as she relaxed in the senior center there. While her husband works and they both get social security, it's not enough money to feed her family.

And Mojer isn't unique. A recent report from Hunger Free America showed more than one in four Bronx residents experience food insecurity. BronxWorks, a non-profit with five food pantries in the borough, is struggling to keep up with the demand.

"There's a lack of funding so we can't purchase enough food. In addition to that, we don't really have staffing to provide the service. So we really rely heavily on volunteers," BronxWorks' Assistant Executive Director John Weed said.

According to Weed, the Morris Heights location recently had to cut back on the number of food bags it gives out to hungry residents. Weed said the organization is in need of government funding and private donations.

"We're citing a figure of $100,000. That would allow us to buy food, to staff the operation and to really get it on stable footing," he said.

Carmen Mojer said life would be much harder without access to BronxWorks' food pantry.

"It would be very sad because then I wouldn't have the extras that I needed. So we couldn't eat like we do now," she said.

To find out more about BronxWorks, click here.

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