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Senator John Edwards Brings Half in Ten Campaign to East Harlem Food Pantry

July 11, 2008

On Wednesday, July 9, Senator John Edwards met with local food pantry clients and toured the Yorkville Common Pantry in East Harlem as a part of the “Half in Ten” Campaign, which aims to reduce poverty in the United States by 50% in ten years. The New York City Coalition Against Hunger and World Hunger Year joined Senator Edwards in bringing attention to widespread hunger and poverty in New York City.

Prior to his tour, Senator Edwards met privately with a group of current and former recipients of food from emergency food programs, like Yorkville Common Pantry, who shared their experiences and discussed methods for combating hunger and improving food access.

Following the meeting, Edwards emphasized the growing prevalence of food insecurity among working families both in New York City and the nation. “When you have people – mothers, children, entire families – going to bed hungry right here in the richest nation in the world, that’s not just wrong – it’s immoral. I have seen it all over the country, and I have also seen the hard work and dedication of the good people like the folks who are here today, who have dedicated their lives to putting an end to this injustice. It is time we all joined in the fight, and made a nationwide commitment to ending poverty in America.”

As Chair of Half in Ten, Senator Edwards is working with partner organizations to increase public and government awareness of issues that affect the poor and middle class, strengthen a constituency to demand action on poverty legislation, and advance policies that assist struggling American families. Current Half in Ten policy initiatives include increasing the minimum wage to 50% of the average hourly wage, expanding access to the Earned Income Tax Credit, and guaranteeing childcare assistance and early education opportunities for low-income families.

These initiatives would profoundly impact the 1.3 million New Yorkers living in food insecure households, says NYCCAH Executive Director Joel Berg. “Poverty in the U.S. and New York are unacceptable, and Senator Edwards is absolutely correct in calling for it to be cut it in half in a decade. In a society with as much wealth as modern America, hunger should be doubly unacceptable. The Senator’s visit not only highlights the growing domestic hunger problem, but enables us to begin a national discussion of the basic steps necessary to make sure that all Americans have access to the food they need to lead productive and healthy lives.”

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