De Blasio: 2 million people in New York City face food insecurity amid pandemic

De Blasio: 2 million people in New York City face food insecurity amid pandemic
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The coronavirus pandemic has doubled the number of people in New York City experiencing food insecurity, Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioNYC to start painting Black Lives Matter mural in front of Trump Tower Thursday despite pushback from Trump House chairman blasts Trump's push to reopen schools as 'dangerous' CDC to issue more guidance on school openings amid Trump criticism MORE (D) said Thursday.

"We're dealing with an unprecedented crisis," de Blasio said Thursday morning during his daily press briefing, according to NPR. “Before the coronavirus, we thought somewhere around a million people were food insecure and needed food. Now we think that number is 2 million or more."

The new figure represents about 25 percent of residents. City officials said they will deliver over a million free meals each day beginning next week to address the sharp increase.

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De Blasio said he has appointed city Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia to serve as “food czar.” He said 32 million free meals have been delivered since March 12, when the city’s state of emergency was declared.

"This is an enormous operation," Garcia said Thursday, according to NPR. "It's really nothing like anything that's been done in this city or I would say probably across the world."

Nearly every demographic in the city has seen a spike in food insecurity, de Blasio said, highlighting the risk posed to children and the elderly.

"Think about the working people, middle-class people who were doing everything right and suddenly their job isn't there anymore and they don't have that paycheck and they don't have enough money to feed their family," he said Thursday.

Garcia said that while more than 30 organizations and food producers are participating, two contract vendors have been fired for delivering substandard meals.

"We will hold people accountable," Garcia said. "We have made changes to make certain we're getting healthy food to people."