Finding Comfort Food

New York, November 27- It’s almost end of the month, the time for food lines; with dwindled food stocks compounded with dearth of money, replenishment is due. Grandmothers, children and others in New York most affected with hunger wait long hours to get a bag of food supplies from a pantry shop. The salaried sections though with reduced pay and working hours, somehow manage without having to see these lines, as a blessed lot.

According to Joey O’ Louglin, a Brooklyn photographer charged with documenting prevalence of hunger in the New York City, “They are the common folk – building workers, people in stores, housekeepers, municipal workers and nurses, all around you, doing the right thing using the food pantries.”

In a city like New York where the gulf between rich and poor is very deep and wide, this is a common sight. “If one picture of the hungry in New York is that of a soiled and drenched, homeless individual, the real needs are something different,” observed Margarette Purvis, the president and chief executive of Food Bank For New York City at whose instance, Ms Louglin was drafted as photographer to document hunger, along with a range of social and financial services.

Survey findings:

? Her survey unfolds many stunning facts. It says that about 2.6 million people have issues buying food.

? Apart from homeless men, children about 500,000 every year add to the count.

? Then, there are elderly people with fixed income, and working adults who have to slash down on food in order to pay for rents; all these segments are to be highlighted to fight the scourge of hunger comprehensively, Purvis feels.

Photographs and visits:

Living in starvation or semi starvation inspite of having work is dreadful to think. Louglin’s photographs which included activities both on food as well as library revealed certain facts:

There are people smart enough taking advantage of all available schemes, be it regarding food or library with the help of library.

Food pantries remain studded in churches and community centers from Brooklyn to Bronx, with different levels of stocks, effective management along with small sized, but enthusiastic outlets. But everywhere, the underlying fact is ‘need’, with people queueing up for hours for getting their groceries. Meat is a luxury, and even diapers and baby formula are hard to come by.

Ms O’ Louglin further found during her visits that while most cases were limited with monthly quota, there were other energetic people who walked to other pantry centers and got more supplies. Back home, they were seen trading food items, or sharing them with neighbours and making tasty preparations with the available items. But lot more is needed to be done for ensuring comfort food free from hassles.

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