STATEN ISLAND — Cuts to the federal food stamp program caused an increased demand for food at the majority of pantries in Staten Island, according to a report released this week.
The New York City Coalition Against Hunger's annual survey found that more than eight in 10 pantries and soup kitchens in Staten Island have longer lines and more demand for food in 2014 than they have in the past.
In the borough, 63.6 percent of food charities reported significant increases to the number of people who rely on them and an increase in the food needs for existing clients.
About 71 percent of Staten Island's food charities reported serving more people this year than last.
Citywide, the report found a 7 percent increase in demand for food pantries and soup kitchens.
The group blamed cuts to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which lowered allowances from $1.70 per meal to $1.60 per meal in August.
“In the last year cuts to the SNAP Program have had very serious results in the dramatic increase in the number of people depending on food pantries,” said Rabbi Gerald Sussman of the Council of Jewish Organization of Staten Island and Project Hospitality.
“Because of these cuts, many people who were once managing are in dire straights."