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BANK ON IT: Food Bank For New York City's Blog


A Walk in The Walk

By Margarette Purvis

1st Call: 7am. 4th Call: 8am. Race downstairs to give out last business card. Race upstairs to make another call. Start edits on presentations. Get interrupted seven times with more calls, IM's, an email littered with silliness from someone who should know better and then back to edits. A quick read of what's before me, followed by a long pause. What I'm reading doesn't feel like me or what I want to say. Something is off. I get up. I open the curtains. There is sunshine. I am surprised. The weather man said that my temporary office in Florida would see rain every day of LEI's Lean Summit. The job the humidity is doing on my hair says he's right. My eyeballs confirm he's wrong. I grab my sneakers and RUN to the door, before what I see morphs into a cruel mirage. I can't remember my last walk in sunny, WARM weather. With every step I take I feel better. I think about the last couple of weeks. Anxiety over the Farm Bill was more taxing than I cared to admit or even truly recognized. I decide to release that and focus on how awesome I felt when the governor's office called about how he would strategically use $6 million to save $457 million in SNAP benefits for the people we serve. In that moment I noticed I had been holding my breath. It was nice to finally enjoy taking in NEW oxygen.

With every step in an unfamiliar community, good feelings are returning. ‎I start reminding myself that not everything was bad in the past few weeks. I think about the great support my team and I enjoyed from so many unlikely places. I think of groups not typically defined as hunger advocates proving themselves to be the DEFINITION of authentic partners, leaders even...some of the best a cause could have.  I think of how some of my new friends have helped me see old stresses with reNEWed eyes. I think about supporters who have used their access on behalf of New Yorkers they will never meet, without any prodding, all because it was simply the right thing to do!

Every day at Food Bank we face a new normal.‎ The demands and requirements to meet the needs of the New Yorkers we serve become greater. The leadership our mission requires can't be faked, dialed in or assumed. The struggle to afford food is owned by far too many New Yorkers. Stacking our team with the right leaders and partners is not a preference but a requirement. Not because one CEO says so or five people disagree, but because 1.5 million New Yorkers and the city they call home DESERVE a different approach to ending hunger.  When having a job (or two) is no longer the answer to staving off hunger, concerned people must answer the universal urging to ensure we're asking the right question. Yesterday's effort and response are both out of touch and out of order for those seeking to be called leader IN THIS SPACE.

As I cross the street to return to my hotel, it hits me. My pace quickens as I think, "Get it together, sister. You're here for a reason!"  We've spent the last year working on a strategy to reduce the meal gap. In it, we said, leadership would be key and now we have a governor who lead in the way we needed, and we've been gifted with a national stage to describe our experience with a best in class corporate partner. At this point, my pace is bordering on a skip as I remembered the major lesson from the past few weeks. I'm not wrong to expect passion and commitment from those receiving mail in our shared trenches. Who knows? Maybe as I'm celebrating and touting the corporate culture and employees of Toyota and the gift that Kaizen has been to Food Bank's network, there could be a corporate leader in the audience who needs to hear our story and better understand that by coupling humility with skillsets, an interested person can actually be HELPFUL and viewed as an ACTUAL leader...not just an assigned one.

As my hotel gets closer my feelings and message become clearer.  A new normal, no matter how taxing doesn't have to be all bad. For every challenge, there is an opportunity for a new leader, friend or supporter to make themselves known. Just as the sun I enjoyed was not expected, one never knows the blessing waiting around the next corner. I'm grateful for the chance to enjoy a walk in OUR walk and will keep the faith needed for the next steps.

From the Desk of Margarette Purvis

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

New Outlook on an Old Relationship

By Margarette Purvis

 “Resting. We are Resting Now.
Eyes Closed. Feet Together.
Our Hands are STILL.
Resting. We are Resting Now.”


These were the words said everyday at naptime by one of my kindergarten teachers, Miss Williams. There I lay during that hour on my red and blue mat. It was my favorite time of the day. Not because I EVER went to sleep…I didn’t. It was my favorite because of Miss William’s little speech said to us over and over again. She would often walk over to me and rub my back as if to say, It’s time to rest, Maggie. But even that thrilled me too much to be able to sleep. You see, to me Miss Williams was the first brown fairy princess…way before Tiana in “The Princess and the Frog.” In my 6-year-old mind, Miss Williams was Cinderella and teaching in Jackson, Mississippi was merely her day job. She was as pretty as the women in my family, but still different. Her voice was light. She was incredibly sweet, almost like a little girl herself. Being from a family of alpha females, I’ll admit that I was mildly obsessed with this figure and style that I’d never known, yet deeply adored.
 
Since learning of the horrific events in Newtown, Connecticut I have thought of Miss Williams and my other kindergarten teacher, Miss Wall, constantly. They were the first two women that I recall spending great time with who didn’t share my last name. I remember the safety and comfort my classmates and I felt whenever we saw their faces. I also remember that on my first day Miss Wall complimented the braids my aunt had double twisted for me. I was so proud of those braids. All these years later, to still remember the moment a person noticed the detail that made up a 6-year-old’s world is proof positive of how special teachers are.
 
Our country is reeling at the great devastation that has rocked Newtown, Connecticut. Across the country people are grappling with the discovery of teachers being on the front lines and what that means. Should they be outfitted with guns? Bulletproof vests? Is the answer bulletproof backpacks? So many questions for a problem that baffles the core of all of us. I won't pretend to know the answer, but I know what the reality involves.
 
Teachers have always been on the front lines. They are the primary witnesses to crimes against children every day. They see the reality of poverty and hurt in the form of hunger, no coats during winter, and a lack of book bags, school supplies and so many other items that most of us take for granted. The teachers who unfortunately lost their lives in the tragic events in Newtown are heroes. They’re being called heroes because they ran toward harm, attempting to shield children from the wretched ugliness that entered their world. Where I will disagree with the majority is when their heroism began. I believe that well before last Friday they, like teachers doing a yeoman's job in Bedford Stuyvesant and the South Bronx, were already heroes. Teachers in the poorest communities of our city commit their lives to shielding and protecting children from the ugliness that too often makes up their worlds.  The strength of the Food Bank's CookShop program, which serves 40,000 children, relies completely on the resilience and commitment of teachers. It’s their creativity that enables them to find ways to incorporate nutrition education into their curricula, ensuring that our city's neediest children get more of what they need.  We certainly wouldn’t have our 11 campus pantries in schools today without the commitment and dedication of teachers and school administrators.
 
My heart and mind have been fixated on the sense of peace and safety that’s been robbed from children, parents and teachers in classrooms across our country. I wonder if teachers know how much they mean to all of us and how much we owe them for the work they’ve put towards our past and future.  If I could find Miss Williams or Miss Wall I would first thank them and then assure them with the following:
 

 

“Acting. We are ACTING now.
Eyes OPEN. Feet Positioned.
Our hands are READY.
ACTING. We are ACTING now.”

 

 

 From the Desk of Margarette Purvis

 

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

Up Close and Personal: Food Bank CEO Margarette Purvis Visits Coney Island Post-Sandy

Coney Island

Streets of Coney Island are now deserted post Sandy.

"Hours have passed and it seems like this line gets longer and longer". These are the words that I spoke to a colleague as we walked around a neighborhood and emergency pantry in Coney Island.
 
The community we visited is still without power, and the citizens who call this community home are lined up at food trucks and pantries to get much-needed food. When we visit communities impacted by Sandy, we visit our member agencies and others who could make great on-the-ground partners. Today, we learned that not only has our member lost their site due to flooding, today is their last day in the school that they've called home for the past three weeks. With the move will come a loss of the generators supplying the only source of indoor light that we've seen for blocks.  
 
From a long lens you notice the darkness, the fact that NO stores are open for business and that lots of people are milling around. A closer view let's you hear children who are not happy that they have to use the public, portable toilets with the adjacent sinks...again. The short view shows you that the mothers milling about are dragging carts, trying to determine the location of the next service site.  They're doing this because the lack of power and phone service means that charities don't have an ability to provide mass communication. 
 
As we say good bye to the program's manager, I notice that the first and second sites have something major in common - the scent of MOLD is clear. I remember it from every home I entered in Biloxi and New Orleans when I worked on homes during Hurricane Katrina. I'm not the only one to smell it, but our members and the city of New York find themselves setting up where they can in order to serve those in need.

What's very clear is that people are so very grateful for the help, but they are also very tired. You can feel it when talking to them. I'm proud that the food being provided is from Food Bank, but I’m incredibly frustrated that we're still needed and that these families still have to go through this. To give these families a bit of a reprieve, we'll be sending buses here to take them to lunch and dinner on Wednesday, November 21, as part of the special “Our Table Is Yours” event for seniors and families throughout New York City who have been affected by Hurricane Sandy. The event, hosted by Food Network, Cooking Channel and Southern Wine & Spirits of America, will benefit Food Bank For New York City’s ongoing emergency response efforts in the wake of Sandy.
 
While my frustration and that of our supporters is real, we're also comforted by knowing that we can do anything that reminds families that they are cared for and that people are thinking about them. The view from where I sit allows me to see people operating at their very best. Ensuring that the Food Bank plays any part of that makes me feel incredibly blessed. 
  From the Desk of Margarette Purvis

 

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


 

 

Show and Tell with Granny

By Margarette Purvis

August 1st marked my 10 month anniversary at the Food Bank as CEO. I'm lucky enough to have experienced many high points to be sure but there was one that I've been anticipating that finally happened. My Granny was healthy enough to fly in from Mississippi for a visit. I felt like a gleeful little girl watching her roll up at the airport. I couldn't stop smiling as we hugged and kissed as soon as we saw each other. For me, my granny represents the most authentic and natural part of who I am. She is a microcosm of my upbringing, my family, my faith and all of the things I hold most dear. Her jokes, like those from my mom, are the ones that make me laugh the hardest. Her memory is not what it used to be but she never lets you forget how much she loves her family.

Margarette: with Granny
Margarette and Granny, at the Food Bank Warehouse
This is not my granny's first visit to the City. When Hurricane Katrina impacted our family, I flew her up here during my first stint at the Food Bank. She joined me for that year's Agency Conference. It was the perfect distraction. In a room filled with servant leaders, my granny felt surrounded by like spirits. In every room during the day she met ladies and gentlemen who had dedicated their lives to serving others. She was miles away from the Magnolia state and right at home.

During this trip I couldn't wait to reintroduce my granny to my new home. What would she think of my new apartment? Would she enjoy church service? How would she react to the buildings that she loved so much the last time? I knew I wanted to show her our newly renovated offices. Since I learned THRIFTYNESS from her as well I knew that she would get a kick out of the fact that we paid nothing for any of the changes. It was going to be a great day starting with a walk around Harlem.

As a Double Decker bus drove by I wondered if she remembered her time atop a similar bus wearing a handmade red cap. Instead she looked at me and said, "I think I would like to do something like that." She didn't remember. As we continued to walk and I became lost in my thoughts about my granny's memories she leaned towards me and said something I will never forget: "these people are hurting here."

My granny's eyes have seen many things in their many years of serving her. Some things she remembers, some things have been long since forgotten. As I crafted a list of "best things to show her" I walked away with the lesson that I must never forget. As long as the very worst of New York is everyday life for so many of our neighbors, our city will never see its true greatness. No amount of glitz, gloss or entertainment will change our visitor's questions about , "how are so many children, seniors and families allowed to struggle to put food on their tables?" Hunger and poverty are stains on a community requiring the collective and sustained elbow grease from all citizens to remove it. Turning our heads and pretending to not see it or worse still, questioning its reality in hopes of initiating an intellectual conversation as a solution can't be acceptable. Allowing any person to be hungry is like giving a green light to a world where basic human dignity is chosen by a coin toss.

I am proud to be a New Yorker again. There is no other city like this one. I will be more proud when my granny feels surrounded by more of her kind in places outside of conference rooms under an orange and white logo. Food Bank For New York City provides an excellent opportunity for regular New Yorkers to go beyond wanting to SEE better to joining an organization and mission in order to DO better. In the words of my granny, "Come on in...there's plenty of room."

From the Desk of Margarette Purvis Find YOUR place by connecting with us at Volunteer@foodbanknyc.org or Give@foodbanknyc.org

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

Stamped: ANXIOUS

By Margarette Purvis

Seven months ago I returned to the Food Bank ready to put forth my best effort in helping as many New Yorkers connect to the plight of our poorest neighbors. Within the 1st month I met with our director for all things policy related to discuss this Food Stamp Challenge I saw on CNN. We had a robust conversation where she gave me examples of how it could work and the many avenues we could take. As I walked out of her office, I said over my shoulder, “I definitely want us to do that.”

So here’s my Friday morning confession: when I said I wanted to do it…I had no idea that she was going to make it a reality six months later and that I would have to figure out how I would eat for One WEEK on $31! I remember the day that they raced in my office to say that Susi and Mario had agreed to lead the campaign. I was just as thrilled as they were. I remember when Mario stood before the crowd at our recent Can Do gala and spoke passionately about why people should join his family in the challenge to relate to almost 50 million Americans and 1.8 million New Yorkers. I’ve smiled every time a tweeter joins the campaign. I experienced all of that and still 24 hours before the challenge begins…I FEEL INCREDIBLY ANXIOUS.

I’m no different than any other working professional. I love a great coffee and probably lean on it a little more than I should. When I actually get a chance to go out for lunch…I expect it to be pretty yummy. My days are long and I typically have no desire to spend those final hours over a stove. GrubHub.com and peapod.com feel like personal gifts from the universe TO ME. They make this working girl…WORK. So now I stare at 7 days on a food budget that I usually have spent in a single day. The overachiever in me wants to do everything really well. But the negotiator in me immediately started figuring out how/where I could adjust the challenge to fit my lifestyle. Hey, don’t judge me. I warned you that this was a confession.

Yesterday morning as I stared in my fridge berating myself for not shopping BEFORE the challenge and still having nothing FOR the challenge, I had a bit of an epiphany. I think the first lesson for me was to remember that what’s causing me anxiety equals RELIEF for people who actually NEED these resources. Imagine if my anxiety was based in having NO FOOD. I’m blessed that this is not my daily reality so I’ve decided to be grateful to have the opportunity to highlight the daily struggle of others. This doesn’t mean that I won’t complain a lil bit on one of these days…it just means that the disposition of my inner foodie has been adjusted.

The Food Stamp Challenge is about people living on the BUDGET and not the actual benefit.  My plan is to crack open my handy crock pot and make meals that will stretch. Thankfully the Food Bank has a great team of nutritionists who put together a $31 grocery list. (That’s not cheating because this resource is provided via monthly trainings to our member network and clients in our Harlem site.) While perusing my list, the first thing I noticed was that the array of fruit that I typically eat is MIA. I can get a couple of apples though. Not the kind I like but at least an apple. Also, according to the list I would have to eat ground meat rather than ground turkey…because it’s too expensive. So, I decided to go online to find coupons so that I could hopefully trade up. You can follow my journey on Twitter OR you can join me by participating in the Challenge, sharing your experiences on Facebook and Twitter and CONTACTING YOUR ELECTED OFFICIALS to encourage them to PROTECT this most valuable resource in our safety net….FOOD FOR THOSE WHO NEED IT.

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

Three Guys, Someone Else's Fries

By Margarette Purvis,

I love the holiday season. For me, it always means longer time spent with my mom and more quiet time to reflect on the New Year. This year because of my recent move to the city I was excited to return to the South and find new things to add to my “to-do” list. I decided to hit up places that I’ve missed over the last three months. So I went to my favorite walking trail to take in the beautiful trees and etched mountain. You would think of all places, here is where I would find holiday enlightenment. Not so, I found it where you’d least expect. 

But before anyone tries to outfit me in bedazzled Birkenstocks...I should probably be clear. I only went to the trail ONCE. It’s the South and what you’ve heard is true: The food is ridiculously yummy! It should come as no surprise that much of my holiday “to-do” list was about what “to eat.” I received great joy from a tour of my favorite FOOD JOINTS. Because the Food Bank is a proud provider of healthful nutrition education services to a citywide network of charities and schools, I’ll spare you the details of my indulgences. Just know, that I went, I saw, I ATE.

It was at one of my final stops that my life was forever affected. This particular place not only has my favorite French fries, the owner is someone who I truly respect and he provides some of the best customer service around. It’s also a hot spot for youth from the community. While sitting there, three teen boys walked in. I noticed them because they arrived carrying empty cups (from the restaurant and the nearby Target) and parked themselves next to me and the soda fountain. When I saw them I smirked a little. My mind went back to being a teen at a local donut shop in Nashville. I remembered hanging with kids named Jeff and Stuart, who didn’t look too different from these boys, and the mischief we would get into after school.

Anyone looking at these boys probably thought they saw characters from an Abercrombie or J. Crew ad. They were scraggly haired, green- and brown-eyed All American teenagers. They were no different than any group you may find at any burger joint...except for one thing. I noticed that these boys never bought any food. They walked in with empty cups and proceeded to eat the free peanuts. They were missing the bravado of the boys I knew as a kid. They seemed too nervous to get the “free refills” as my childhood friend Peter named it. They ate so many peanuts that they kept my attention. Watching them made me think of my eleven-year-old godson, who as a growing athlete can put away so much food it boggles the mind. My godson is about three years younger than these boys, and he would NEVER be satisfied at 1pm with a bowl of peanuts. As I looked back at them, I heard one ask, “so what did you have for Christmas?” His friend, who looked no older than 13, said, “nothing…she didn’t have it.” I looked away from my BlackBerry and thought "Why haven’t they ordered something?"

As one of the boys caught me looking at them…they all decided to get up to leave. I watched as one placed his never filled cup in the garbage and almost looked away as the second boy joined him. And THAT’s WHEN I SAW IT: The second teen pretended to throw his cup away and instead reached in and GRABBED FOOD OUT OF the GARBAGE. I wasn’t the only person to see it. Across the room, another woman looked…stunned. I watched her grab her chest as we both stared at each other, blinking for a second. When I looked outside there were two of the boys, looking inside of the “rescued” bag and shoving the contents into their mouths as they hurriedly walked away.

I ran outside to get their attention and they nervously ran (without coats) between the cars as if they’d done something wrong. They had not, but I wasn’t sure if I had. Holiday haze or not, I know a simple fact: Millions of families rely on school meals to supplement their food needs and this was a REALLY LONG BREAK for families with little to no food. Hunger does not take a holiday and it does not discriminate. The needs of “growing boys” are the same in every household regardless of whether mom and dad can afford to meet them.

As I reflect on the New Year and the ideas and programming that I soon hope to share with our supporters and partners, I keep coming back to the notion of a “communal gift.” Whether you celebrated Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa there are lights involved. There was the light from the North Star, lights from the menorah and lights for Kwanzaa symbolizing direction for community actions. During my holiday break, I didn’t see a major light but I found ENLIGHTENMENT from three boys. Three hungry boys in a room filled with adults demonstrated how people can struggle in plain view. Three boys showed the leader of a Food Bank what the stigma around being an impoverished adult looks like in their children. These three boys did not “reveal” to me that hunger exists. I already know that. But these boys gave me a REMINDER of the URGENT NEED to help as many of us give the best gift to the neediest among us and that is our ATTENTION. Families are struggling all over this country. We can never say that we’re willing to ACT if we have not first trained ourselves to truly SEE. In 2012, I’m looking forward to launching new, dynamic programs to help as many New Yorkers SEE hunger for what it is and then CHANGE how many of our neighbors and friends experience it. We’ll keep the light on and hope you’ll keep an eye out and choose to join us!
 

Holey Bonding

By Margarette Purvis

Last night I witnessed the close of my second full month as the Food Bank’s new CEO. I’ve learned many things that only a 60 day journey could teach and I plan to use them all. I learned that when my assistant asks me to repeat something with a lifted eyebrow she’s really saying, “I don’t think you should do that and I’m probably going to secretly change it for your own good.” In the midst of reorganizing programs and teams, I’ve learned that even when changing for the better, change is change and it just scares the socks off of most people…even the really talented and committed ones.

So, here I am dragging around my new found lessons and being told by staff that I have YET ANOTHER meeting to attend. For the record, I truly LOVE THIS JOB. I love the organization. I love our mission. Heck, I even love my eyebrow lifting assistant. However, the pace coupled with back to back meetings, interviews, and vision setting can often make a girl DREAM of a nap on the sofa. So the thought of yet another meeting requiring a trip on the subway was not EXACTLY how I saw myself spending a Wednesday night.

Nevertheless as a trooper, I gathered my things and applied a bit more lip gloss and went about my merry way. Was I dragging a bit behind my team? Maybe. I was tired and it was late and cold. When we entered the elevator our team’s fundraising guru suddenly started giving me some last minute stats on philanthropy. I gave her my raised eyebrow look that means, ‘I kinda want to kick you but since you’re doing your job…I get that that would be wrong.’ When the doors opened we left the elevator to walk to the apartment of the host of our meeting..and THERE IT WAS. Right outside the apartment door was a clothes rack and pile of shoes. My first thought: “Dear Lord, this is a no shoes zone.” I will admit that a mild panic shot through us all. For me, it’s been about 5 years since I’ve been a part of this particular NY phenomenon. Note to Non- NY’ers: No shoe zones are one measure used by NY’ers to keep a healthy home since NY is a heavy pedestrian city. However for another team member it was shocking for another reason: she had holes in her socks! Once we gathered ourselves from the exhausting laughter that this moment caused, I passed my socks to her and again, away we went.

Inside the apartment were new faces from varying careers and backgrounds all excited about our upcoming Gala. I will admit that while I expected YET ANOTHER meeting about a business event, I was pleasantly surprised to find something VERY DIFFERENT. Inside the apartment were varying types of New Yorkers discussing a shared passion for a single mission…all while wearing socks. So in less than 60 minutes, a retired banker, a voice over star, a talent agent, a tech guru, a past user of emergency services and a new mom provided my team and me with a little “end of the day jolt.” You see in the business of philanthropy, you work tirelessly at HOPING you’re making a connection to supporters. Last night, I was blessed by a clear message that said, ‘not only are people connecting to our mission…they SHARE IT and happily Join us in trying to meet it.’

So just like that…a long night turns into a great night and a long “to do” list transforms into a pretty exciting walk (in a really BIG) park. So thank you to last night’s hosts. We’re now considering ending all sayings about “rolling up our sleeves” in exchange for plans to TAKE OFF OUR SHOES! You’ve coined a new custom in our shared village and apparently, it works…REALLY WELL.

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

The Unaffordable Temptation

by Margarette Purvis

During my first week at the Food Bank I spent countless hours learning new faces and trying to match them with the names from the org chart. I met new and old donors, bonded with my new assistant and ran a gazillion reports to help me gauge my new home's temperature. When I wasn't performing those tasks I was working on VERY IMPORTANT responsibilities like finding my closest grocery store, best delivery spots and of course the closest dog park for my "who hid my back yard" pooch.

I've enjoyed an exciting week to say the least. Nevertheless, nothing in the midst of appointments, greeting new friends, connecting with old partners and relearning passwords prepared me for a visit to a local store for a "fruit run." As a lover of bananas and coffee, bananas and peanut butter and bananas with just about anything...I was NOT prepared for my new home's new price for an old favorite. You see, in Atlanta I was accustomed to buying a beautiful bunch of bananas for $.50/lb. In NYC the lovely check out girl reported that they were selling this same fruit for $.50/EACH. Since I'm now in a pretty public job I chose to not let my inside thoughts escape my mouth. So I quietly handed her enough money to purchase ONE.

On the walk back to my apartment clutching the most expensive banana I would ever consume in this lifetime....my mind wandered to families served by our soup kitchens and pantries who love bananas as much as I do. How in the world do they afford to have the entire family enjoy a fruit that's probably lying on the ground in tropical cities everywhere? How in the world has a banana become the Milano cookie for NYC youth? You see when I was a child there were 'kid treats' and 'adult treats'. Want a Chips Ahoy? Have at it...sometimes. But, reach for a Pepperidge Farm Milano cookie and you quickly heard how they were for "company." In our family all items marked "for company" meant that they were both expensive, adult and never intended for any kid sharing our DNA or living within a 50 mile radius.

So as I walked away gripping the TRULY golden banana, I couldn't help but think that SURELY fruit should be accessible to all. Isn't that why it's often referred to as dirt candy? I mean when families aren't allowed to CHOOSE fruit are they doomed to choose between health issues? I'll pass on the bananas and take heart disease. No apples for me but high blood pressure...maybe.

I posed this question to two program managers this week and both stated that more and more they're seeing children under the age of five years old tasting many fruit for the first time in an emergency pantry. Unfortunately, conversations with our member agencies prove again and again that bananas, like apples, peaches and grapes are simply not a part of many family's diets purely because of the COST. So yes, that means that the fruit that tempted the world's shared ancestors can't even be afforded by many of our nameless, faceless neighbors living in fruit-less homes everywhere.

I'm excited about my future at the Food Bank. There are so many exciting programs and opportunities to learn more about, expand upon and develop. However, right now...nothing makes me prouder than the fact that just last week we won Feeding America's Mighty Apple Award for being the largest distributor of FREE produce in the country. We are a FOOD BANK and that's what this work is about. We provide what the neediest New Yorkers and their communities DESERVE...making our SHARED Apple Mighty INDEED.

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

Meet Our New CEO

Margarette Purvis, President and CEO
This Monday, our new CEO, Margarette Purvis, began her tenure at the Food Bank For New York City. Watch the below video, taped at our 90,000 square-foot warehouse - and help us welcome Ms. Purvis by commenting to this post!

Read the Food Bank's press release to learn more about Margarette Purvis - and please welcome her with a comment!

 

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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