Lesson of the Day: ‘1.5 Million New Yorkers Can’t Afford Food. Pantries Are Their Lifeline.’

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Lesson of the Day: ‘1.5 Million New Yorkers Can’t Afford Food. Pantries Are Their Lifeline.’

6. What did you learn from this piece that you didn’t know before? What would you most like to remember from it?

Listen to the first 35 minutes of “The Daily” podcast episode “A Day at the Food Pantry.” You can follow along with the transcript of the episode.

The episode follows Nikita Stewart, who wrote the featured article, and two “Daily” producers at a New York City food pantry as they interview workers and clients. To listen actively, consider these questions, adapted from our Film Club feature, and take notes:

1. What moments in this episode stood out for you? Why?

2. What messages, emotions or ideas will you take away from this episode? Why?

3. What questions do you still have?

4. What connections can you make between this episode and your own life or experience?

One recurring theme in the episode is shame about needing assistance. One person in line at the food pantry says:

Because of the mask, I feel like I can protect my identity. Like no one can see me. And I can come here and get food. … Because, like, maybe my neighbor or maybe someone will see me. And I don’t want to be in the situation to get free foods. Because I can work. But yeah, this is the nightmare for us. But actually I didn’t know there would be a long line. So yeah, now I feel like I’m not alone like that.

Ms. Stewart, the journalist, comments:

And there’s this tendency for people like me, who’ve experienced poverty, to not talk about it. You want to forget about it, like it didn’t happen. But if we all keep this secret, it creates this stigma where there shouldn’t be one. So I’m glad I’m able to talk about my family’s poverty now, at least a little bit.

Have you ever felt ashamed or embarrassed about needing help with something, whether with food or housing or for any other reason? How did you handle that?

If nearly one in four households have experienced hunger this year, why do you think there is still so much shame around accepting assistance for food?

What do you think individuals, communities and the larger society can do to reduce the stigma around poverty and needing assistance from others or the government?