Seeing a massive increase in the number of food-insecure people, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Sunday that he wants to ramp up food delivery to 1 million meals a day.
He said that before the coronavirus pandemic hit, New York City had about 1.2 million people who were experiences some level of food insecurity.
“That number may have grown by a million,” de Blasio said during a coronavirus briefing. “There could be as many as 2 million or more New Yorkers experiencing food insecurity now or will be experiencing it in the coming weeks.”
He said the city now has the capacity to deliver up to 3.1 million meals a week, but would like to see that grow to 1 million a day. He called on nonprofits groups, staff food-distribution sites and community organizations to help the city feed people who “just weeks ago considered themselves solidly middle-class or working class.”
The mayor also blasted White House economic advisor Kevin Hassett for saying on Saturday that a “phase four” stimulus package might not be necessary.
De Blasio said Hassett appears bent on “saving money rather than protecting people.”
“I was disgusted when I heard these comments because it sounded like the comments not only of a cheapskate but someone who just didn’t care,” de Blasio said. “So I hope President Trump will renounce these comments immediately.”
During an interview Saturday on Fox News, Hassett noted that some states appear to be opening up their economies safely and faster than expected.
“I think right now because there’s been good news really, that the opening up is starting to happen faster than we expected, appears to be doing so safely, then there is a chance that we won’t really need a phase four,” Hassett said.
De Blasio said the city is $7.1 billion in the hole and that it appears Hasset has an “absolute misunderstanding” of what is happening in New York and in other areas across the country that are still steeped in the battle against the virus. He added that without another federal stimulus package, first responders, including doctors and nurses now saving lives in public hospitals, could be furloughed.
“If we don’t get help from Washington, that is what will happen,” de Blasio said.