Food insecurity refers to not having reliable, consistent access to enough food to live a healthy life. You may be food insecure if:

  • You eat regularly, but the food you can access doesn’t provide a good balance of nutrients.
  • You have access to nutritious food, but not enough to sustain your energy for the day.
  • You have to skip a few meals every now and then to stretch your budget or ensure others in your family can eat.
     
     

Hunger and food insecurity are related, but they aren’t the same thing. Hunger is the discomfort someone feels when they haven’t had enough to eat. Food insecurity refers to not having enough money to buy adequate food for your household. People can be hungry without being food insecure, and people can be food insecure without experiencing hunger.

Food insecurity in New York City is still at an historically high level since the 2008 recession, with one in six residents and one in five children in the city living in homes that can’t afford enough food, Federal nutrition programs, such as SNAP, WIC, and the Summer Meals, provide vital supplemental resources that help eligible recipients meet their daily food needs.

SNAP benefits can help you put healthy food on the table. SNAP monthly benefits can be used to purchase food at authorized retail food stores.

SNAP benefits are provided through an Electronic Benefit Transfer (EBT) card, similar to a bank debit card or credit card. If you are eligible, an EBT account is set up for you, and every month your benefits will be deposited right into your account.

For more information about SNAP, contact your local department of social services or call the toll-free OTDA Hotline: 1-800-342-3009. 

To find out the location and phone number of your nearest SNAP office, contact your local department of social services — New York City Human Resources Administration, 718-557-1399.

 

All Types of Food Assistance: 

  • Call 311 and say “get food”. 
  • Text “NYC FOOD” or “NYC COMIDA” to 877-877 to find a free meal distribution site near you. 
  • Visit nyc.gov/getfood to find a food pantry near your or to determine eligibility for free meal delivery. 
  • Emergency food assistance: Call 866-888-8777 or 311. 
  • Hunger Hotline: Call 866-348-6479. For Spanish, press 3.

Find Your Local Food Bank

City Harvest

6 East 32nd Street, 5th Fl.

New York, NY 10016

546-412-0600

www.cityharvest.org

Food Bank for New York City

355 Food Center Dr. 

New York, NY 10474

718-991-4300

www.foodbanknyc.org

Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)

Women, Infants and Children (WIC) is a supplemental nutrition program from the USDA-FNS specifically for low-income women, children of low-income women, and low-income women who are pregnant. It’s one of the most successful and cost-effective federally funded nutrition programs in the U.S. WIC helps improve the health of children and mothers, reduce the number of premature births and infant deaths, and lower participants’ medical costs.

The WIC program aims to safeguard the health of low-income women, infants, and children up to age 5 who are at malnutrition risk by providing nutritious foods to supplement diets, information on healthy eating, and referrals to health care.

WIC Serves: 

  • Pregnant women 
  • Breastfeeding women 
  • Non-breastfeeding postpartum women 
  • Infants
  • Toddlers and children up to age 5

Common Locations:

  • County health departments
  • Hospitals
  • Mobile clinics (vans)
  • Community Centers
  • Schools
  • Public Housing sites
  • Migrant health centers and camps
  • Indian health services facilities
     

How do I apply for WIC?

Call your local agency to make an appointment.

  • Call the Growing Up Healthy Hotline to locate the WIC Local Agency nearest to you: 1-800-522-5006.

    Each person applying for WIC benefits must go to the local agency to apply and be present at the time of application.

 

New Family Home Visits Program

The New Family Home Visits Program offers support, services and referrals to new and expectant parents. The program aims to help those who live in areas of the city that have been most affected by COVID-19 and have had great health and social burdens.

Through this program, a trained health worker — such as a nurse, doula or community health worker — makes in-person or virtual visits to the home of a parent who has an infant born within the past three months.

Eligibility

The program is available for people who are first-time parents and who live in the following ZIP codes:

  • Bronx: 10451, 10454, 10455, 10474, 10456, 10459, 10460, 10452, 10453, 10457, 10458
  • Brooklyn: 11205, 11206, 11216, 11221, 11233, 11238, 11207, 11237, 11212
  • Manhattan: 10026, 10027, 10030, 10037, 10039, 10029, 10035

 

Starting January 2, 2022, people who live in these ZIP codes will also be eligible:

  • Queens: 10301, 10303, 10304, 10310, 11101, 11368, 11369, 11412, 11419, 11420, 11421, 11423, 11429, 11432, 11433,  11434, 11435, 11436, 11691, 11692, 11693, 11694
  • Staten Island: 10301, 10303, 10304, 10310

 

The program is also open to people — including those who are not first-time parents — who live in public housing in the above ZIP codes or who currently receive help from the Administration for Children’s Services.

Services

The program’s trained health workers can help participants with:

  • Breastfeeding

  • Creating a safe home for the new baby

  • Safe sleep education

  • Mental health and chronic disease screening

  • Accessing community health and social services

  • Accessing a nurse, lactation consultant, social worker or doula

  • Getting a crib, diapers and other essential items for the baby

For more information, including to check if you are eligible, call 311 or email nfhv@health.nyc.gov.

Housing Assistance

NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA): For NYCHA’s COVID-19 FAQs, visit https://www1.nyc.gov/site/nycha/about/covid-19-FAQ.page.

Mayor’s Office to Protect Tenants: For information and resources for tenants impacted by COVID-19, visit https://www1.nyc.gov/content/tenantprotection/pages/covid19-home- quarantine.

NYC Tenant Resource Pool Eviction Prevention Tool: Visit https://www1.nyc.gov/content/tenantresourceportal/pages/

Eviction Prevention: For legal services for eviction or other housing or tenant matters, call Legal Aid at 212-577-3300 or Legal Services NYC at 917-661-4500

Benefits:

ACCESS NYC helps New Yorkers identify and apply for eligible benefits.

There are over 30 programs you or your family may be eligible for regardless of immigration status and even if you are already receiving benefits or have a job. Call 718-557-1399 or visit access.nyc.gov.

Help heating and cooling your home: Call the Home Energy Assistance Program (HEAP) at 800-342-3009 or visit otda.ny.gov/programs/heap.

Temporary assistance (TA): If you are unable to work, can’t find a job, or your job does not pay enough, TA may be able to help you pay for your expenses. Call 800- 342-3009 or visit otda.ny.gov/programs/temporary-assistance.

Unemployment Assistance: To apply for temporary income for eligible workers who lose their jobs through no fault of their own, call 888-209-8124 or visit ny.gov/services/get-unemployment-assistance.

Financial Counseling: For free, one-on-one financial counseling, visit nyc.gov/talkmoney.