Right now, in New York City, 2.6 million New Yorkers are having difficulty affording food. Food Bank For New York City works as the city’s hub for integrated food poverty assistance, tackling the hunger issue on three fronts — food distribution, income support and nutrition education — all strategically guided by its research. Learn more about how our programs help New Yorkers in need throughout the five boroughs.
Food Bank For New York City: It's More than Just Food
Emergency food is a critical first step in the continuum
of services needed to address food poverty. With the assistance of a staff
nutritionist, Food Bank procures, stores and distributes more than 60
million pounds of healthy food every year, including fresh produce. The core of
our food storage and distribution operation is our 90,000-square-foot warehouse
in the Bronx. A full-service delivery operation, Food Bank dispatches tractor trailers from the warehouse five days a week
to our citywide network of
approximately 1,000 schools and member programs, including food pantries, soup
kitchens, senior centers, after-school programs, daycare centers and more.
income support services, including food stamps, free tax assistance for the
working poor, and tax credits, put millions of dollars back in the pockets of
low-income New Yorkers, helping them to achieve greater dignity and
approximately 1.4 million New York City residents relying on soup kitchens and
food pantries, access to SNAP (better known as Food Stamps) is critical for
those struggling to afford food. Food Bank helps these vulnerable New Yorkers receive
the SNAP benefits that can help them put food on the table. Almost 250,000 New Yorkers
who are eligible for the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) don’t apply for it. To help rectify this problem,
Food Bank offers free tax preparation assistance at 17 sites in all five
boroughs—the largest free tax assistance service for civilians in the nation.
Food Bank also provides virtual tax filing, which enables people in
lesser-served areas to have their returns prepared and filed remotely.
Bank’s nutrition education efforts are another vital part of this continuum.
Our nutrition education program in the public schools reaches more than 40,000
children, teens and adults. The curriculum for students ages 5 to 12 includes
interactive cooking activities to foster children’s enjoyment of healthy foods,
and fun exercises to promote an active lifestyle. Teenagers take what they
learn one step further, serving as good health ambassadors at their high
schools by conducting nutrition education workshops for their peers. Through free
workshops held at our network of food pantries and soup kitchens, we encourage thousands
more people to make wiser nutrition choices with limited food dollars.
TEN links member programs—each playing different roles in
providing services—to refer clients to each other and together provide a full range of needed benefits, from emergency food to SNAP benefits (food stamps) to income tax
assistance and more. Because clients have an established and trusted relationship with their local emergency
food provider, odds are they’ll be receptive to the outreach and follow through
with the referral. Over the last year, TEN has expanded from 88
participating organizations to 156, and through this program the Food Bank has
submitted benefits applications for 4,000 households.
Food Bank not only works with its member organizations
to provide the services described above, but is also committed to developing
and implementing programs to directly benefit members of the NYC community. Our
Community Kitchen and Food Pantry of West Harlem provide more than 50,000 free
meals each month to New Yorkers in need, including 10,000 hot meals in the
Community Kitchen. Meals are enhanced by the use of items from the Kitchen’s
own vegetable and herb garden and from Food Bank’s Community Supported
Agriculture (CSA) Program, which connects Harlem residents with farmers to help
them obtain fresh, affordable produce. Downstairs from the Kitchen is the Food
Pantry, where families can receive fresh, healthy food in a supermarket-style
setting, making selections to fit their needs.