NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – There are questions being raised about the city’s multi-million dollar COVID-19 food program amid charges that some deliveries arrive spoiled and others lack proper nutrition.
CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer is demanding answers.
For a diabetic Queens woman, it was not exactly a good fit: A roll, cookies, strawberry jam, peanut butter and sweetened dried cranberries delivered by New York City as part of its COVID-19 food program to feed the homebound and food insecure.
“You won’t starve but you’re going to wind up in the hospital with high blood pressure or high sugar,” said Maria.
Maria also claims she received a delivery that was full of snacks: cookies, pretzels, onion rings, not much nutrition for a couple where one is diabetic and one has a heart condition.
That case is not the only complaint. Others, including Madeline Pierro, say they have received rotten, moldy food.
“I was very shocked to see an order like that delivered to a family,” she said. “I had to throw the two boxes into the garbage pail.”
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams has also received complaints about the nutritional content of some meals delivered by the city.
“We’re supposed to be using this moment to feed people healthy food,” said Adams. “Why is it important? Because diabetes is the umbrella for a lot of other diseases.”
When asked about one couple saying that their last delivery included “six bags of onion rings, potato chips and cookies and that was it” by CBS2’s Marcia Kramer, Mayor Bill de Blasio promised to look into the matter.
“I’m counting my blessings in the middle of this crisis, and it’s a blessing anytime you or any member of the media points out something that needs to be fixed on behalf of the people of this city,” the mayor told Kramer. “Onion rings and cookies are not nutrition. We may all enjoy them, but that ain’t nutrition.”
The city’s food czar, Kathryn Garcia, who faces the daunting task of delivering over a million meals a day, insists her agency has received only a small number of complaints, but she takes each one seriously.
“We have over 30 vendors who are supporting us in this effort, and we have very strict nutritional requirements within their contracts,” said Garcia. “If any are not meeting them, please make sure to let us know cause we want to hold them accountable to deliver the food that we’re paying for.”
Garcia means business. She says the city has already canceled the contract of two vendors.
WHAT’S YOUR EXPERIENCE? Have you had problems with food delivered by the city? Let us know. If you have pictures, please include them.