Over 1.3 million people, one in six New Yorkers, cannot afford enough food, with queues at soup kitchens getting longer, anti-poverty groups say.
Food Bank is unable to meet demand, with shelves empty
The New York City Coalition Against Hunger says the number of people who use food pantries and soup kitchens in the city increased by 20% in 2007.
Some of the food distribution points are struggling to meet demand.
The coalition blames the situation mainly on increased poverty as well as government cutbacks in food aid.
No Thanksgiving turkey
"This annual survey of food pantries and soup kitchens shows that more working families, children, and seniors are being forced to seek emergency food," Joel Berg, the coalition's executive director, said in a statement.
"Given that hunger continued to increase in the city, even when the economy was still strong last year, it is no wonder that now, when the economy is weakening, lines at pantries and kitchens are getting even worse."
Some food outlets said they would not be able to distribute turkey rations for Thanksgiving on Thursday, because their federal supplies of food had been cut by as much as three-quarters.
Food Bank, a non-profit organisation which distributes food to about 1,000 pantries, said its shelves were half full compared with usual levels.
According to a survey, 59% of New York's food programmes, up from 48% last year, said they did not have enough resources to meet demand.
The US Department of Agriculture says 12.6 million households nationwide, or more than 30 million people - 10% of the population - did not have enough food at some point in 2006.