By Brendan Krisel

HARLEM, NY — A broad coalition of activist groups, scholars and benefits recipients are calling on the city to reverse its decision to close a food stamp distribution center in Central Harlem.

Dozens of advocacy groups sent letters to the city Human Resources Administration and Mayor Bill de Blasio to warn of the negative effects of closing the St. Nicholas Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) Center on West 125th Street between Adam Clayton Powell Junior and Malcolm X boulevards. More than 380 people have also signed on to a petition asking the city to keep the center open. The city plans to close the office on Friday, June 28.

When the center closes, food stamps recipients will have to trek nearly one mile to a center on Third Avenue and East 126th Street. The travel may be too difficult or expensive for many benefits recipients, Kiana Davis, a benefits advocate at the Urban Justice Center, said. Davis is also concerned that closing the food stamps office may overwhelm the staff at the Third Avenue site with new clients.

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