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Food Bank For New York City

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Our History


Food Bank For New York City was founded in 1983 to address the growing needs of people seeking emergency food assistance in New York City. In July 2007, FoodChange, Inc. became a subsidiary of the Food Bank. Over the years, the Food Bank has experienced dramatic growth in the areas of food distribution, operations, programs and research to better serve our network of community food programs — and ultimately the people in New York City who rely on the food we provide.


1983
Food Bank For New York City is founded (as Food for Survival) to serve people in need throughout New York City. Our operations and our 35,000-square-foot warehouse (now 90,000 square feet) are based in the Hunts Point Cooperative Market in the Bronx — the world's largest wholesale distribution center.


1990
Staff nutritionists are hired to provide food safety and nutrition information to our network of food programs as part of the new Nutrition & Food Safety Education Program.

A Wholesale Food Purchasing Program is started to provide food programs with a larger variety than what is received from donated food.


1991
First Annual Agency Conference is held, bringing the hunger-relief community together to strengthen the response to hunger.

The Fresh Produce Program is founded and helps distribute 5.6 million pounds of free, fresh fruits and vegetables.


1992
The Warehouse Repack Program is founded to help repackage food donations received in bulk containers into sizes suitable for soup kitchens and food pantries.

The first Check-Out Hunger, a hunger-awareness and fundraising campaign, is conducted in supermarkets citywide, is held.


1995
The Food Bank (as Food for Survival) releases the first study featuring the work of the emergency food network in New York City, Who Feeds the Hungry?, providing new insight into the city's food programs and the people they serve.


1997
Feeding America presents the Food Bank with two Model Program awards for General Management and Research.


1998

The Food Bank releases two groundbreaking publications: The NYC results of Hunger 1997: The Faces & Facts, the first hunger study to identify who and how many are in need of food relief in the city (in collaboration with America's Second Harvest); and Directory of New York City Emergency Food Programs, a reference tool for social-service agencies to refer those seeking emergency food assistance.


2000
The Food Bank releases second Who Feeds the Hungry? study, revealing a significant rise in food assistance throughout the five boroughs, particularly among children and the elderly.


2001
The Food Bank introduces a full-delivery system, offering free food delivery to our network of 1,000+ food assistance programs, and dispatches more than 10 tractor-trailers daily — a total of 480,000 pounds of food destined for those in need each day.

As part of the Food Bank's September 11 Disaster Relief efforts, three million pounds of food are provided to rescue efforts at Ground Zero, including those of the Red Cross and Salvation Army; police precincts and restaurants preparing meals for volunteers; and our network of food assistance programs experiencing increase in need.

A 24-hour, toll-free phone line (1.866.NYC.FOOD) is established to assist people trying to locate food programs where they can volunteer, offer financial support and receive food assistance. *New Yorkers are now directed to call 311 for help locating assistance. The Food Bank also offers our online Food Program Locator.

The Food Bank releases Hunger in America 2001: The New York City Report (in collaboration with Feeding America), the largest and most comprehensive study showing that one in five New Yorkers are turning to the city's kitchens, food pantries, and shelters for emergency food relief.


» More: Our History page 2

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