Bronx —

Although a man could be barred from the afterlife for letting another man go hungry in ancient Egypt, New York City didn’t cook up the idea of soup kitchens as a way to feed the poor until the Great Depression. Now more than 1,100 soup kitchens and food pantries are sprinkled across New York City.

And with the number of homeless New Yorkers higher today than since those bleak economic times of the early 1930s – more than 60,000 people were checked into New York City homeless shelters at the beginning of December – the lines outside soup kitchens and food pantries sometimes stretch down blocks.