Working poor turning to soup kitchens

Holy Apostles in Chelsea is among the soup kitchens featured in a New York Daily News story about the deteriorating condition of the working poor. Tanay Warerkar and Jennifer H. Cunningham write:

Growing numbers of working people are turning to soup kitchens and food pantries, social service providers say, and their reliance is placing a greater strain on relief networks that were already overtaxed.

“I wouldn’t be able to afford my rent if it wasn’t for this meal,” said Henry Harris Jr., 40, who works full-time as an institutional aid at a hospital and grabs a bite to eat every morning at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in Chelsea.

A growing number of workers say they rely on the meals that are dished out by city’s hunger-relief organizations. …

Relief agencies, in turn, become more reliant on groups like City Harvest, which redistributes millions of pounds of surplus food from restaurants, greenmarkets and groceries, to more than 400 soup kitchens and pantries across the city.

Holy Apostles, one of the busiest soup kitchens in the city, with close to 1,200 patrons each weekday, has noted an increase in the number of working people who visit the Chelsea-based pantry over the past two years.

According to the story, the Bureau of Labor Statistics classifies 8% of the nation’s labor force as “working poor”, a definition applied to people who work at least 27 weeks a year but earn an income below the poverty line: $11,720 for an individual and $23,492 for a family of four. The number has risen from just over 5% in 2007.

The story includes a link to the now-famous Cleveland Plain Dealer story about Walmart conducting a food drive for its own employees.

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