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One Mission. Built to Serve. Three Decades. A Special Message from Food Bank for New York City CEO Margarette Purvis

MP Birthday Message

(l to r: Dominique Jones, Alyssa Herman, Lisa Hines-Johnson, Margarette Purvis, Jewel Jones, Kathy Goldman,
Rev. Henry Belin and John F. Fritts, Esq) Photo credit: Tim Reiter

January 1983 marked the official start of an organization built by hunger advocates and a handful of charities to supply the much-needed food for their shared mission of ending hunger. Before we were Food Bank For New York City we were Food For Survival, an organization that was intended to be needed for approximately 10 years to get through the hard times and lack of supports for the city's poor and homeless.

On January 15th—the birthdays of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Food Bank founder Kathy Goldman, and Food Bank For New York City—we stood on a stage at the Marriott Marquis before hundreds of charity partners celebrating the legacy of our shared and consistent response to the Neediest New Yorkers. The intangible connection between the legacies found with those "born" on this day and the overwhelming commitment to service were not lost on any of us. I think 30 has a way of doing that to you. If you're lucky it makes you more introspective. You find yourself looking back at the past as you plan bold moves to secure your desired future.

While you won't see pictures of Food Bank kicking up our heels in Vegas, the 30-year milestone is as important to us as it is for anyone else. We've reached our own type of "adulthood." We are old enough to be very clear about our challenges and responsibilities, and young enough to truly feel excited about our ability to be successful over them. In the end, WE MUST. Our birthday does not belong to us alone. As the organization STARTED BY our members, we share the road forward with hundreds of charities, BY DESIGN. At 30 we're beyond BFF's and are wholly responsible to deep, long-lasting and mature PARTNERSHIPS.

At 29 we shared that our citywide response was down 11 million meals. As a 30-year-old we're looking forward to working with our partners in bringing innovative approaches to increasing our food supply. At 29 we hit the ground in step with our members, volunteers and donors to ensure a comprehensive response to Hurricane Sandy. At 30 we're dismantling that response, looking for the best practices and partners in order to plan a long-term strategy and assets to get our city through our next natural disaster.

On January 15th, Food Bank For New York City turned 30. We hosted a birthday party for those who know us best. We shared our concerns, we celebrated our successes, and we plotted out key components of our future. As I joined in on many of the conversations and watched dozens of clusters of others talking passionately, I realized that this is what 30 looks like. Energy, vitality, a commitment to what's next and an understanding of the very necessity to MOVE FORWARD. Our birthday wish was to be smarter and more engaged in the glorious future we envision for ourselves and the 1.5 million New Yorkers we care most about.


Margarette Purvis Margarette Purvis is the President and CEO of Food Bank For New York City. Follow her on Twitter at @FoodBank_Prez

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