Free information is provided by Hunger Hotlines in New York state. Callers to these services can get referrals and linkage to pantries, soup kitchens, and government programs to which they may be qualified for. The services are available to any resident, regardless of their income, age, race, or religion.
Residents of the downstate region, including New York City, Long Island, Westchester, and the surrounding area can dial the Hunger Hotline at 1-866-692-3663 or 1-866-888-8777. This resource is focused on the NYC region, and representatives can provide information on the hundreds of pantries, soup kitchens and other programs that are available in the area. All information is available in Spanish as well as English.
Note that in some cases there will be an automated answer line set up, and callers will need to navigate it. However they can still get the addresses, hours of operation and other information on the countless locations throughout the city, including those run by Catholic Charities, the Salvation Army and other non-profits. There are many places to turn to in an emergency, and a large number of people are focused on hunger prevention.
The fact is that in any year, there are millions of meals provided to low income families and seniors, and that doesn’t even include the homeless who are also users of the soup kitchens. Many of these people are struggling to pay the bills and make ends meet, and for most families they have never had to turn to a pantry or government assistance in the past.
Many volunteers also work with the NYC Hunger hotline as well as the food pantries themselves. People can receive staples, baby formula, meals, and more. In some cases the hotline can refer a caller to a free Thanksgiving or Christmas meal site too, or there are mobile pantries in the city that can make it more convenient for residents to get the help they need.
The Food Bank for New York City is also a key partner of the hotline. In fact, this non-profit, and the staff that work there, are on the front-lines of preventing hunger in the downstate area, and they are committed to ending it. The emergency hotline for this agency is 212-566-7855.
One key service in New York City is the Food Summer Meals Program, and this is for children, teenagers, and young adults. The Hunger Hotline can provide details on how to apply for a free breakfast for children, and were the application sites are located in the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens.
The New York City Coalition Against Hunger, in partnership with the hotline, can also provide guides on how to access free food or meals within the five boroughs, and there are dozens of sites that people can turn to for this.
Anyone that lives in the upstate area, which includes large swaths of territory ranging from Albany to Syracuse, Rochester and Buffalo can call the hotline dedicated to their needs as well. The number is 1-866-526-2978. Anyone using the upstate Hunger Coalition hotline will also be referred to programs for their needs.
The services also offer information on public aid, including how to apply for government food benefits in New York State. Callers can get information on application sites for food stamps (SNAP), Women, Infant, and Children (WIC) and other state or federal government benefits. In fact, there are no less than 10 programs that focus on offering food and in general preventing hunger.
When in a crisis, these services can be called upon for information. There is no cost to call the hotlines as they are toll free numbers, and the information provided is also free.
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