The recent mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, has highlighted the challenges of food insecurity in the community. Mutual aid organizations support recovery efforts by investing in the social and economic fabric of their communities.
Ten people were killed and three injured in a shooting at Tops Supermarket, the only supermarket serving Eastern Buffalo’s majority black community. “The Buffalo supermarket that was raided was the only grocery store for many residents of Buffalo’s East Side,” said public relations manager for FeedMore West New York (WNY), a food bank and hunger relief nonprofit. Catherine Thicke, , told Food Tank. “As a community, we need more healthy and affordable food options for our community members.”
FeedMore WNY and its community mutual aid partners are working to ensure that residents of Buffalo’s East Side affected by the massacre receive nutritious food and essentials. Chic said FeedMore was running emergency food distributions at her two locations near the supermarkets that were raided, where members of the community had access to a variety of fresh produce, dairy, shelf-stable foods and personal care products. I am ready to receive it.
Additionally, FeedMore WNY provides food and support through a number of partner food pantries and community dining sites. Nearly 10 of them are within three miles of his four quarters from the Tops supermarket where the attack took place.
“We are working to make sure our communities are aware of these pantries, and we are encouraging neighbors to use them as a resource. We have secured and are also making sure we are ready to serve more community members,” said Shick. FeedMore WNY also operates a mobile farm market, offering fresh produce at low prices in areas where fruit and vegetables are hard to come by.
The Buffalo Mutual Aid Organization has also launched a Community Resources document for residents to access support services and find donation opportunities.
According to FeedMore WNY, more than 13% of West New York residents do not have access to enough nutritious food. Food inflation, which has reached a 40-year high, is driving up the cost of food, gas and housing, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics.
“In recent years, challenges such as pandemics, supply chain disruptions and inflation have exacerbated food insecurity in western New York state and across the country,” Chic said. People of color are disproportionately affected. “
A study by the Center for Policy Research at Northwestern University found that black and Hispanic Americans are twice as food insecure as white Americans at 36% and 32%, respectively, compared to 18% of white Americans.
“Systemic racism and poverty have contributed to longstanding food insecurity in the region,” Shick told Food Tank. “To eradicate food insecurity in our country and in the city of Buffalo, we need to address not just hunger and access to food, but the root causes of all these to make real and lasting change. I have.”
To support food distribution efforts, some policymakers, including New York State Senator Kristen Gillibrand, are pushing for stronger food access infrastructure. In 2020, Gillbrand issued a statement to strengthen food access infrastructure for communities in Buffalo. She seeks investment in the United States Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Healthy Food Financing Initiative and full funding for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Emergency Food and Shelter Program, which FeedMore WNY is already leveraging. I’m here.
Tops Supermarket in East Buffalo plans to reopen after renovation. About a quarter of its employees have moved to other locations since the shooting, according to Topps president John Parson. Some Buffalo residents are looking forward to having access to the supermarket again, while others are unable to return due to trauma.As the community recovers, mutual aid responses will continue to grow in East His Buffalo. continue to feed the inhabitants of
“The mutual aid response to help the Buffalo community was essential for so many reasons,” Chic says. “Not only do people and organizations band together to ensure their neighbors have access to vital assistance such as food aid and crisis counseling, but together we will overcome hatred and build communities for a brighter tomorrow. It sends a clear, big message that we can improve.”
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Photo credit: Joel Muniz, Unsplash