September 1, 2021 (New York, NY) – On the first day of Hunger Action Month, City Harvest, New York City’s first and largest food rescue organization, rescued its billionth pound of food for New Yorkers in need since its founding in 1982, and delivered it to Hour Children in Long Island City, Queens. This sobering milestone underscores the growing number of people experiencing hunger during the COVID-19 pandemic, during which food insecurity rates surged 41% overall in New York City—and a stunning 53% among NYC children—with a disproportionate impact upon communities of color hit hardest by the pandemic. Photos of the billionth pound delivery can be found here.
This year, Hunger Action Month, the annual campaign to raise awareness of food insecurity across the country and mobilize the public to take action to feed those in need, begins as New York City continues its long recovery from the pandemic. Since March 2020, City Harvest has rescued nearly 200 million pounds of food and delivered it, free of charge, to hundreds of soup kitchens and food pantries across the city—an unprecedented effort that was more than double the amount of food the organization rescued and delivered over the same time period pre-pandemic.
“Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, New Yorkers have come together in extraordinary ways to feed their neighbors in need,” said Jilly Stephens, CEO of City Harvest. “Now, as our city begins a long recovery, it’s important to remember that countless New Yorkers will carry the economic pain of the pandemic for years to come. Thanks to the dedication of our partners, volunteers, donors, and New Yorkers all across the city, we can feed good in our city and ensure that all of our neighbors make it through this crisis—one day, one meal, one New Yorker at a time.”
“We are honored to receive City Harvest’s billionth pound of food rescued and delivered since their founding in 1982,” said Kellie Phelan, Program Coordinator at Hour Children. “Hour Children and City Harvest have worked hand-in-hand for years to provide New York City families with fresh, nutritious food. The number of New Yorkers in need has skyrocketed during the past 16 months, and we were able to rely on City Harvest every step of the way to provide us with more food for our growing pantry line. This billionth pound milestone is a testament to the vital work that City Harvest has done for nearly four decades, and also a sobering reminder that the need for food in our city remains extremely high. We will continue to stand with City Harvest as our city begins its long recovery from the COVID-19 crisis.”
Throughout September, City Harvest and its partners will give New Yorkers multiple opportunities to support the organization’s work and help feed their neighbors. Key dates throughout the month include:
- Sept 1: City Harvest will rescue it’s billionth pound of food as an organization, and deliver it to Hour Children in Long Island City, Queens.
- Sept 9: In collaboration with Chef Michael Lomonaco, City Harvest will host a special volunteer event in honor of the 20th anniversary of 9/11 with City Harvest Food Council members, where nutritious food will be packed for New Yorkers in need.
- Sept 23: The Concert to Feed NYC, featuring Nas, the Grammy-winning hip hop artist, will take place at the iconic outdoor Forest Hills Stadium.
All New Yorkers can support City Harvest during Hunger Action Month by visiting cityharvest.org/hungeractionmonth and:
- Attending The Concert To Feed NYC: (Sept. 23): Purchase tickets for the Concert to Feed NYC, featuring Nas, the Grammy-winning hip hop artist, at the iconic outdoor Forest Hills Stadium. All proceeds will benefit City Harvest.
- Donating Funds: All gifts made in September will be matched, dollar-for-dollar, up to $150,000, by a generous friend of City Harvest, Denise Littlefield Sobel. Each dollar donated will go twice as far—helping to feed five New Yorkers in need for a day.
- Donating Food: (City Harvest’s High Holidays Food Drive, through Sept. 20): Help City Harvest feed our kosher-observing neighbors in need during the High Holidays by running a traditional or online food drive. Our trucks will pick up donations of 50 pounds or more in-person, or you can build an online food drive page through our partner #GiveHealthy and purchase items online to be delivered directly to the City Harvest warehouse. All donated food will be delivered to kosher community food programs across the city.
- Joining Our Wellness Club: Join the Team City Harvest Running Club to raise awareness and funds for City Harvest captained by our Food Council member Dan Churchill, Executive Chef of Charley St. Team members will have access to in-person and virtual wellness events such as virtual Pilates class and in-person team runs.
- Volunteering: City Harvest was founded by a group of volunteers in 1982, and before COVID-19, nearly 10,000 volunteers donate their time each year. Throughout the month of September, individuals are encouraged to take a hands-on approach to feeding their neighbors by volunteering both in-person.
- Advocating: Join City Harvest in advocating for critical city, state, and federal policies, such as the American Families Plan, this September to help ensure the priorities of our food pantry partners are front-and-center for our public officials, including the incoming NYC Mayor and City Council. Visit our website to learn more.
Everyday New Yorkers can also join City Harvest and its partners by participating in:
- Mandarin Oriental Specialty Cocktail: Stop by the MO Lounge at Mandarin Oriental, New York during the month of September. For every Hunger Action Month cocktail sold, 10% of proceeds will be donated to City Harvest.
- Dine at Le Bernardin: For every guest that dines at Le Bernardin, Chef Eric Ripert’s renowned 3 Michelin-starred restaurant, $5 will be donated to City Harvest to support our work—enough to help feed 28 New Yorkers for a day.
- La Colombe x The New Yorker Coffee: For the month of September, and through June 2022, La Colombe will be donating $2 of every box of the La Colombe x The New Yorker medium roast coffee to support City Harvest and Food Bank For New York City.
- Two Good Yogurt’s One Cup, Less Hunger Program: For every cup of Two Good Yogurt sold, Two Good will make a donation to City Harvest to help rescue the equivalent amount of food.
- Montucky Beer: Montucky Beer is now available in New York City too! They are donating $.50 for every case sold to City Harvest for 3 months to celebrate their arrival in the big apple. Find out more at montuckycoldsnacks.com
- Pearl Street Caviar: For the month of September, Pearl Street Caviar will donate 5% of sales from their Siberian Select Caviar to City Harvest to support our work.
Special thanks to our Hunger Action Month Partners, Two Good Yogurt and media partner PIX 11.
For complete information on all of City Harvest’s Hunger Action Month activities, visit cityharvest.org/hungeractionmonth. The public is encouraged to join the discussion online by tagging City Harvest on Facebook (CityHarvestNYC), Twitter (@CityHarvest) and Instagram (@CityHarvestNYC) and using #WeAreCityHarvest.
About City Harvest
City Harvest is New York’s first and largest food rescue organization, helping to feed millions of New Yorkers who struggle to put meals on their tables. As the city emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will rescue 111 million pounds of fresh, nutritious food and deliver it—free of charge—to nearly 400 food pantries, soup kitchens, community partners, and our own Mobile Markets across the five boroughs. We work alongside our community partners to boost community capacity, expand nutrition education, and strengthen local food systems. For more than 35 years, City Harvest has always been there to feed our city—one day, one meal, one New Yorker at a time. To learn more, please visit cityharvest.org.