Hunger is on the rise in the Big Apple amid the COVID-19 pandemic — but at least one Manhattan soup kitchen said its Thanksgiving lines were shorter than usual this year.
Organizers at the Bowery Rescue Mission in the Lower East Side chalked up the lower Turkey Day turnout to people being coronavirus-cautious.
Just 1,300 meals of turkey and fixings were served at the Mission during its noon-to-4 p.m. operation Thursday, said CEO James Winans.
“It’s a smaller number from last year, when we had 1,800,” he said.
An estimated 1.5 million New Yorkers have struggled to feed themselves during the pandemic — a 38 percent rise over pre-COVID-19 figures, according to CityHarvest.org.
That includes one in four children in the city, the organization has calculated.
For those who did show up at the rescue mission, the meal was a welcome break from all the bad news of 2020, according to diner Melinda Sanft, who has been out of work for a couple of months due to surgery for carpal tunnel syndrome.
“I plan to give back next year,” said Sanft, 49.
“Truthfully, the pandemic has rattled me,” she said. “I’m grateful to be alive on Thanksgiving.”
One thing that hasn’t changed this year was the quality of the meals, said one thankful longtime Bowery Mission diner.
“They have everything here — great food,” he said. “I’m sending my prayers to everyone here because the pandemic isn’t going away [anytime soon],” said the man, who gave his name as Stephen G., 57.
Information on free food assistance throughout the city can be found on the GetFoodNYC website — which offers a map of locations for grab-and-go meals, food pantries and other resources — and by calling 311.