As the Food Bank For New York City’s two New York City Civic Corps members, Mallory Shan and I wear a couple of different hats. While on the one hand we’re akin to full-time staff at the Food Bank, we also have duties for the NYC Civic Corps, which itself is part of the greater AmeriCorps organization. AmeriCorps is a federal service program, created under President Bill Clinton in 1993, that engages citizens from all over the U.S. in long-term projects, including anything from after-school programs to special-needs advocacy to environmental clean-up. As two recent college grads serious about making a difference in our country, Mallory and I couldn’t have found a better fit than working at the Food Bank with the AmeriCorps program.
Swearing in by Mayor Michael Bloomberg
A few weeks ago we attended the 2010 New York State AmeriCorps Kickoff – an event acknowledging and celebrating the work of the nearly 1,200 AmeriCorps members in the state. The kickoff represented a fantastic opportunity to learn, network, and reaffirm our commitment to serving those in need – in our case, the hungry citizens of New York City. After an early morning bus to the state’s capital in Albany, we decamped to the sight of more than a thousand bright and enthusiastic corps members. We began the day with a rousing round of PT (physical training, to the uninitiated), and soon were treated to a packed program of inspring speeches, addresses and testimonials. John Gomperts, current head of the program, led a swearing in and recitation of the AmeriCorps pledge, committing us to “to make our people safer, smarter and healthier.” Certainly the highlight of the day was the address given by La Verna J. Fountain, President and founder of the Defiant Hope Consulting and Training Company. Highlighting her struggles out of poverty, her battle with multiple sclerosis and instances of prejudice in her own life, La Verna challenged AmeriCorps members to “say yes, where others would say no,” and to keep fighting for positive change even as naysayers will “stab you in the front.”
On the bus ride back, Mallory and I had ample opportunity to reflect on the mandate put before us. We will certainly face challenges as we work on projects for the Food Bank, from tax assistance to the CookShop nutrition education program to improving the Community Kitchen and Food Pantry of West Harlem. And though things may get tough, we’ll be certain to keep this pledge in mind: “I am an AmeriCorps member, and I will get things done.”
On June 28, the Food Bank For New York City had the pleasure of participating in and benefiting from Target’s “Party for Good,” an exciting event that was held at an undeveloped warehouse on the East River. The party was in honor of the attendees, facilitators and supporters of the National Conference of Volunteering and Services, where leaders in the volunteering and service world met for three days to share best practices and participate in informative workshops.
Not only did Target throw a terrific party for the “volunteer coordinators of the world,” but they also included a HUGE volunteer activity that night! Partying and volunteering – is there any other better combination?
Party attendees packaged 150,000 meals that were distributed to children and families at the Food Bank’s member soup kitchens and food pantries across the five boroughs. Who knew that a party could be so good while doing so much good?
Watch this video to see what the warehouse looked like before and after Target decorated it, along with some clips of the party in action.
Thank you to Target for hosting such a brilliant event, and to everyone who attended!
From top: Dr. Lucy Cabrera presents Susan Ungaro, President of the James Beard Foundation, with an award for their longtime support; Chef Seamus Mullen of Boqueria in action in the James Beard Foundation kitchen during the event.
Food Bank For New York City is incredibly fortunate to have so many wonderful and dedicated supporters. We thank all of our supporters for making a difference, and the continued success and growth of the Food Bank is a constant reminder of the impact of all of your efforts. Despite the economic strain that many are feeling, supporters like you continue to find ways to show their dedication to ending hunger in the five boroughs — whether through donations, volunteering or spreading the word, your support makes a real difference in the lives of New Yorkers in need.
One of our most noteworthy opportunities to recognize our donors’ immeasurable contributions is our annual Toast & Jam celebration. It provides a time to formally thank our Liberty Partners and longtime supporters. It was a beautiful evening, which featured the true charm of the James Beard House — the host for nine years running — as guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres prepared by Chef Seamus Mullen of Boqueria (another supporter that is always available to lend a hand).
Of course, a Food Bank event would not be complete without some splashes of orange. The signature color was incorporated through orange ribbons worn by supporters who have been giving to the Food Bank for more than 20 years. Their longtime commitment to fighting hunger is truly commendable and is crucial to the Food Bank’s ability to provide food assistance to the five boroughs.
At the evening’s close, Dr. Lucy Cabrera took a moment to thank all of the attendees for their commitment to the Food Bank. Furthermore, for the first time in the history of Toast & Jam, Dr. Cabrera presented an award to the James Beard Foundation, who has also been a longtime partner in the fight against hunger. At the conclusion of the presentation, everyone joined in a toast to the continued success of the Food Bank and the kindness of its donors. I would also like to give a special thanks to our sponsors who helped make it possible: FedEx, Stella Artois, illycaffè, Acqua Panna/San Pellegrino and Southern Wines and Spirits.
And last, but definitely not least, a toast to all of you!
From top: The mom bloggers, Cheryl Hines and I show off our reusable canvas bags; Cheryl Hines talks about her commitment to hunger relief and her participation in the Better Than a Picnic picnic.
What happens when you combine a group of dedicated mom bloggers, Hebrew National hot dogs, Cheryl Hines of HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm and Randall’s Island? You get a fun-filled day supporting both the Food Bank For New York City and Hebrew National’s Better-Than-A-Picnic. On Saturday, May 22, NYC Mom Bloggers hosted the event that was chock full of fun. I was there on site to partake in the festivities and, of course, represent the Food Bank.
Randall’s Island served as a great backdrop. Families were everywhere, enjoying the beautiful spring day on the soccer field, softball fields and playing in the park. Hebrew National set up a wiener wagon serving up yummy, piping hot hotdogs. Cheryl Hines was on site, not only speak of her relationship with Hebrew National but to comment on her commitment to raising hunger awareness nationally. In addition to the hotdogs, this free, family-friendly event had a mechanical bull (screams fun, no?) and a station to decorate reusable lunch bags that were then donated to our Community Kitchen & Food Pantry of West Harlem.
And a point about these phenomenal mom bloggers! Gracious is not enough of a word to explain how engaging and welcoming they were. It started with Emily of themotherhood.com who worked to ensure that I got there and back home safely — car service :*two major thumbs up.* Meeting her cohort of other mom bloggers meant hearing sincere enthusiasm for 1) being awesome moms and 2) working to install, at an early stage, commitment to helping others in need. These moms rocked!
The day served as a great way for all family members to gets involved in a great cause. Doing good, on a full stomach and learning about the Food Bank’s dedication to helping New Yorkers in need— what at great day.
By the way, Cheryl Hines is extremely sweet and not at all a TV show diva! She enjoyed learning about the Food Bank and even made a really cool reusable lunch bag.
Whether you’re a parent, a New Yorker, a foodie or just someone who like to support conscientious people, we hope you’ll enjoy all of the great mom-bloggers who came out in support of hunger relief!
When I started at the Food Bank last July, I changed not just jobs but cities — almost two weeks after my first day here, I went back to Somerville, MA, to finish packing, and the next day my boyfriend and I moved into our new apartment in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. Until then, I had been a near-lifetime Massachusetts resident, and moving to New York City fulfilled a long-held wish. While much thought and discussion went into which borough to live in, we both felt sure that we wanted to be here.
I was lucky enough to join the Food Bank For New York City team this January, starting the new year off on a... well, on an orange note. Similar to any newcomer, I am excited, curious, a little nervous — but most of all eager to learn. First and foremost, I have learned that the Food Bank and the color orange are essentially synonymous, and I had the chance to experience the enormous effect this color can have on an entire city at the NYC Goes Orange Appreciation Event.
Food Bank board member Mario Batali raising a toast at our 2010 NYC Goes Orange Appreciation Event
The Food Bank held this event in February to thank the more than 300 partner organizations that helped produce another successful NYC Goes Orange — an annual, citywide campaign to spread orange, the color of hunger awareness, throughout New York City in an effort to raise meals for the more than 1 In 5 New Yorkers who rely on the Food Bank to eat.
The NYC Goes Orange Appreciation Event did not fall short of continuing this “Go Orange” trend. The event was held at Vento Restaurant, where by sheer coincidence the curtains and décor were orange, setting a rather appropriate and festive mood. Yet, the orange-spotting did not stop there, as it was not long before Food Bank board member Mario Batali himself arrived sporting his signature orange crocs.
Later in the evening, Batali, joined by Food Bank President and CEO Lucy Cabrera, toasted our partners’ hard work raising food, funds and public awareness for New Yorkers in need.
To make a long story (told well by our campaign recap video) short, the campaign was a success. Furthermore, judging by the positive atmosphere and smiling faces, so was the event, which was made possible by Southern Wine and Spirits, Stella Artois and Vanguard Direct. Needless to say, I left feeling as though I had “Gone Orange.”
Posted At: February 26, 2010 11:35 AM | Posted By: Food Bank Staff
Events & Campaigns
Purim this year is Sunday, February 28. In the Bible, The Book of Esther tells a fantastical story about a Jewish girl whose grace won the beauty contest to be the new queen. Her charm also helped save the Jewish people throughout the Persian Empire from an evil minister named Haman (Boooo!!!).
Queen Esther and her cousin Mordechai then deliver the message that the only way to really be happy is if everyone in society is happy. This was true when a minority in the kingdom was being oppressed; it is also true when there is hunger in the community.
They declared that the holiday is celebrated by 1) giving charity to two people (enough money to buy a nice meal), 2) giving a food basket to a friend, 3) having a festive meal and 4) retelling the story. So please use the SHARE button below to Digg, tweet or use any social media to share this post, have a Happy Purim and please donate here.
Posted At: February 25, 2010 11:37 AM | Posted By: Food Bank Staff
Events & Campaigns
by Daniel Buckley
If you read this blog regularly, you already know who Kate Hindin is. But for those of you who don’t: After working as the Food Bank For New York City’s Business Partnerships Manager for the past year and a half — over which time she was an active contributor to Bank on It — Kate Hindin has moved back home to California.
Kate’s dedication to building partnerships that have helped to fight hunger in New York City has come through clearly in her blog posts. So, illustrating the importance of these partnerships and giving examples of some of the ways that you or the place where you work can help make a difference, here is a selection of her posts — and, Kate Hindin, this is your life:
From among an onslaught of teens, tweens and families visiting New York City over spring break, a group of high school students from Erie, PA use their time off to help New Yorkers in need at our Community Kitchen
The Food Bank’s Tax Assistance Program provides low-income New Yorkers with free tax preparation services as well as information on how to access the various credits they are entitled to – including the Earned Income Tax Credit , a key piece of the public safety net for the working poor. One of the largest programs of its type in the country, the Food Bank's Tax Assistance Program has completed up to 50,000 tax returns for low- to moderate-income New Yorkers annually — helping to provide as much as $100 million in tax refunds.
If you think you may be eligible for EITC, use Intuit’s free EITC calculator today. For a listing of the Food Bank’s Tax Assistance Program sites, click here.
With the mounting effects of the recession — including record-high unemployment rates — 2009 presented many challenges to the Food Bank For New York City. As the city's major hunger-relief organization, the Food Bank was there to help the 1 in 5 New Yorkers who rely on us to eat.
Check back later this week for a Letter from Lucy (Lucy Cabrera, Food Bank President and CEO, that is) recapping the past year and giving a glimpse into the year to come. Right now, please take a moment to view, learn from and enjoy highlights of the videos and photo slideshows that display some of the Food Bank's efforts and events of the past year.
Generations of Hunger
Watch our 2009 video, offering an insider's perspective from the front lines of hunger relief.
Dumpling Man, giant dumplings, an eating contest and city Comptroller John Liu —all for hunger relief in "Dumpling for a Cause" by Daniel Buckley, Oct 29, 2009.
Taste of Tennis
Tennis's biggest stars including Andy Roddick and Vera Zvonareva; NYC's hottest restaurants including The Stanton Social and Double Crown; and Bethenny Frankel support the Food Bank at BNP Paribas' Taste of Tennis in "A Taste of Tennis" by Kate Hindin, Sept. 3, 2009