Food Insecurity Op-Ed

This essay was written by NYC high school senior Alejandro A. as part of the Freedom and Citizenship Civic Leadership Project, with help from his undergraduate Teaching Assistants Ariana O. and Stephanie C. View the rest of the 2022 group project here.


By Alejandro A.

As long as people have been around, hunger has been an issue. Early humans trying to find edible foods then evolved into hunter gatherers, hunters and farmers up to the point where we are now. Being as advanced as we are, you would think that hunger, especially in a developed country like the United States, would not be as big an issue as it is. However, hunger still affects people who you would believe wouldn’t be affected by this: university students. For example, at Columbia University, food pantry visits are at 300-400 per month and were 500 at the peak of the pandemic. These numbers still are much higher than the 100 pre-pandemic visits. The situation at Columbia can be viewed as a microcosm of what is happening throughout the city with 1.2 million New Yorkers experiencing food insecurity prior to the pandemic. This number ballooned to 2 million people during Covid. Now that the pandemic appears to be in the rear view, these numbers have started to go down, but it is still important to remember the 1.2 million New Yorkers, who suffered from food insecurity prior to the pandemic. This figure may have gone up due to job loss and inflation caused by the pandemic, but it might last for a long time. An issue like this affects people of color disproportionately and those who reside in areas in the city that are surrounded by either food swamps and food deserts. Read more from the City of New York.