NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – As the economy continues to struggle, the hunger crisis grows for millions of families, with many finding themselves in need for the first time.

Plenty of organizations are stepping in to help.

As CBS2’s Dick Brennan reports, on the Lower East Side, the need for food has become urgent, and organizations are pooling their resources to distribute it as quickly as they can.

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“Volunteers, resources, food trucks, forklifts. Whatever is needed so we can get the job done,” one person said.

ARE YOU RUNNING OUT OF FOOD?

A study by Feeding America estimates that, nationwide, some 50 million Americans, including 17 million children, may experience food insecurity.

People who cam to Our Lady of Good Counsel Church on the East Side were given two boxes of food.

“Shelf stable items. Those tend to be rice, pasta, some canned goods,” said Richard Espinal of Catholic Charities. “We’re also giving out fresh produce, want to make sure we’re giving people healthy food and not just stuff that’s canned.”

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“We provide a family of four a meal for a week,” said Catherine Scalera of Our Lady of Good Counsel.

For many, the food is a godsend.

COVID VACCINE

“It really helps,” one person said. “Very healthy. I like fruits and vegetables. That’s very good and I really need them.”

“Really just sad. It’s astronomical in terms of the need that’s out there,” Espinal said. “Back in September, Catholic Charities distributed it’s one millionth meal during the pandemic.”

Catholic Charities doesn’t normally do pop up pantries but recognized they needed to get more food to more people right now.

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

CBS2’s Alice Gainer spoke to some people who are receiving food for the first time, like one woman who didn’t want to be identified. She lost her job during the pandemic.

“It’s definitely put a lot of pressure. You’re out of work. You don’t have money coming in. So just being able to have this food is a really big help,” she said. “I don’t know how I would get by without it, really.”

People in need are urged to come out to these events. No judgment – just food.

Alice Gainer contributed to this report. 

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