New York City, NY

Migrants Rejecting Free New York City Provided Meals

Anne Spollen

Row Hotel, the Times Square lodging where hundreds of Latin American migrants are being housed, has been the subject of many complaints regarding the meals New York City is serving them. The temporary residents are stating the meatballs are frozen in the middle and the pasta has spoonfuls of grease dripping from it.

Diana, who is staying at the shelter with her two children says "Sometimes the food smells bad. Rotten. And every time the children eat food, it's like that they got food poisoning."

In a 32nd Street shelter, Rosalina, another mother,
Refugees are rejecting the meals New York City is servingPhoto byToni OsmundsononUnsplash

presented a written request from her son's pediatrician. The request came about after 4-year-old Anthuan suffered an acute illness. In the request, the doctor asked the shelter to provide bland food, and housing with a kitchen. Anthuan's pediatrician Dr. Kendall Rao said that "among the pediatric asylum-seeking patients that I have been seeing, there has been an increase in the number of children reporting gastrointestinal issues including poor appetite, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and constipation. Many of these young children seem to be having a difficult time adjusting to the food here. It seems to be causing a shock to their developing digestive systems."

Mayor Adams responded in a statement, "People might have a different cultural taste for certain foods -- we can't do that. We can only provide nutritional food for people."

Finding shelters with kitchen facilities is not always possible. Recently, the city has been frantically trying to find basic housing for the thousands of migrants who have been bussed from the border. Many of these lodgings are not equipped with any kind of cooking means. Additionally, the city is paying only $3-$4 per person per day for meals.

The Chair of the Contract Committee, City Councilmember Julie Won, said "Can you imagine what that means, if it's $3.44 for three meals -- what does that mean per dish? It costs $1 and something cents? Can you image what the groceries must be to create that meal -- what what are you eating? What are you feeding people?" Won asked.

Ms. Won is planning on holding a hearing on the matter.

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New York City writer interested in urban concerns, lifestyle topics, human interest, all areas of wellness, and social issues. Published novelist and essayist.

Staten Island, NY

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