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Food Bank Closures Leave Immigrants Struggling with Hunger

This summary about food bank closures was featured in Documented’s Early Arrival newsletter. You can subscribe to receive it in your inbox three times per week here.

Immigrants struggle with hunger amid food bank closures 

Many food banks across New York City have closed due to a lack of funding, a shortage of volunteers, and rising food prices. These closures have been detrimental to residents — particularly immigrants — who are now finding it difficult to access food.

At CPC Brooklyn Community Services’ food pantry event on April 1st in Sunset Park, over 500 people queued up, but only 300 food packages were available, leaving more than 200 that day with nothing.

Some of those residents struggling to get food lost their jobs amid the pandemic and have found it difficult to recover. “There are so many people still not back to work, and there is a huge gap between wages and costs of living,” says Steve Mei, Director of CPC Brooklyn Community Services.

The closure of pantries has also strained other pantries that remain open. For example, the Henry Street Settlement food pantry used to serve more than 850 families monthly. It has since downsized due to lack of resources and staffing. 

Background: Pantries that have closed are not beneficiaries of the City’s Emergency Food Assistance Program (EFAP), which covers costs of operation of a food bank. Instead, they rely on grants from community organizations and donors. 

Major implications: The inflating cost of food has some pantries reconsidering the key meals they add to a food package. For example, a case of 15 dozen eggs costs $87 in April, up from $27 in March — and the situation isn’t getting any better.

Read the full report from Documented’s Community Correspondents April Xu and Rommel H. Ojeda.

In other local immigration news…

Three bills introduced to limit ICE’s power in NYC: New bills are aimed at ending law enforcement cooperation with ICE and creating a right of private action for those wrongfully detained. — Read highlights here

Chinatown apartment fire kills 91-year-woman with dementia, 52-year-old son with Down syndrome: A home healthcare aide returned after 45 mins away to find the room in flames, and escaped unharmed. The fire’s cause still under investigation. — CBS News

Around the U.S. 

ICE spent funds on unused beds, missed Covid-19 protocols and detention standards: A government watchdog’s report finds ICE spent money spent on unused hotel space, and that a contractor did not meet health care protocols. — DHS OIG

Report explores differences in views among U.S.-born Black Americans and Black immigrants: Only about one in four Black immigrants say they have everything or most things in common with U.S.-born Black people, the survey found. — Pew Research

Immigrants punch above their weight as taxpayers: About 15.4% of 2019 tax revenues from residents came from immigrant households, though they made up only 14.8% of all U.S. households. — Immigration Impact

Texas Gov. Abbott repeals traffic-causing immigration order: The Republican governor dropped his rule requiring commercial trucks from Mexico to undergo extra inspections. — AP News

Oregon’s shortage in working-age immigrants causing labor scarcity: Census data shows Oregon’s immigrant workforce began shrinking in 2017, which coincides with Trump-era immigration restrictions.  — Oregon Live

Washington D.C.

Biden admin. grants Cameroonians Temporary Protected Status: After flawed asylum denials, detention abuses, and pleading from advocates, the U.S. has granted TPS and work permits to Cameroonians. — Reuters

Top U.S. officials to discuss migration in Panama: The U.S. secretaries of state and homeland security will meet with Panama’s president to address migration along the border. — Reuters

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