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Food Bank For New York City

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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 the 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—the food hub for New York City. A full-service delivery operation, the Food Bank dispatches tractor trailers from the warehouse five days a week to organizations all over the city. It is through this citywide network of approximately 1,000 schools and member programs, including food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, after-school programs, daycare centers and more, that the Food Bank helps to provide 400,000 free meals each day for New Yorkers in need.

Nutrition Education

Food Bank’s nutrition education efforts are another vital part of this continuum. Our nutrition education program in the public schools reaches more than 170,000 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 (Tiered Engagement Network)

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.

Income Support

Our 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 independence. With 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.  The 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, the 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. The Food Bank also provides virtual tax filing, which enables people in lesser-served areas to have their returns prepared and filed remotely.

Direct Services

The 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 provides 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.

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