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PR- 427-07
November 25, 2007


The following is the text of Mayor Bloomberg's weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, November 11, 2007

"Good Morning. This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg.

"There's just no room for hunger or malnutrition in the world's greatest city. That's why every day, faith-based organizations, community groups, and men and women of good will all work hard to relieve hunger in New York. So does our City government; let me tell you about two new steps we've taken to help New Yorkers in need feed their families.

"First, we're immediately allocating an extra $1 million to more than 500 soup kitchens and emergency food pantries around the city. These community-based organizations provide food to nearly 900,000 New Yorkers every month. We're injecting more funds into these programs now because their expenses have grown. In part that's because of inflation; it's also because these programs have started stocking more nutritious foods that cost a bit more. The result: Today's emergency food dollars only buy about 80% of the food that they did just four years ago.

"The extra money we're now providing to the City's 'Emergency Food Assistance Program' will buy about 1.3 million pounds of canned goods or other meal ingredients. These funds actually come from the Federal government. They're part of a package of bonuses the City has earned for improving our management of the Food Stamp program. During the past four years, we've made our Food Stamp application process simpler and more convenient, and we've also greatly reduced fraud and abuse. Because of those reforms, we now can make this important investment in our soup kitchens and food pantries.

"We're also improving the way that New Yorkers find out where and how they can get emergency food. In the past, when people called 311 with such requests, they got connected to an automated information system. While there's still a 24/7 automated system, calls about emergency food that are now made Monday through Friday between 7:00 am and 7:00 pm, and on Saturday from 7:00 am until 3:00 pm, can also be handled by specially trained operators. They talk with callers about their particular needs, and tell them about the location and hours of convenient emergency food programs. And after all, when someone's refrigerator is empty, speaking with a sympathetic human being means a lot.

"In fact, basic human compassion fuels everything we do to eradicate hunger in New York, from providing more than 850,000 nutritious free or low-cost meals to students every school day, to increasing the acceptance of Food Stamp benefit cards at City Greenmarkets. It's also why New York's Bravest and Finest are once again taking part in the annual holiday season canned food drive.

"You can join, too. Until January 4th, please drop off non-perishable food items at any firehouse or police station. They'll go to City Harvest, a great non-profit group that we work with all year long to supply New York's emergency food programs. And call 311 to find out how you can volunteer in the fight against hunger. It's a great way to give back to our city, and to make the true spirit of the holiday season come alive.

"This is Mayor Mike Bloomberg. Thanks for listening."


Stu Loeser   (212) 788-2958

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