It’s 3:15 pm on a Monday afternoon and I’m strolling into the Food Bank’s Community Kitchen in West Harlem, where I volunteer three days a week. I stop for a moment to look at the menu. It’s chicken day: curried chicken with rice and broccoli, fresh baked bread, apples, salad and juice.
When I notice the date, I do a double take. My mind races a bit, I check again, and it’s the second to last week of the month. This is about the time every month when our lines really grow, as many New Yorkers struggle to stretch their budgets till the end of the month. At about 4 pm it’s going to get crazy in here, and I have to mentally I prepare myself.
A favorite pastime of some of the clients is to compare the plates to see which is bigger. They’re pretty much all the same but when you’re turning to a soup kitchen because you can’t afford a full month’s worth of groceries, a small difference can feel really big.
The absolute best part for me is when the clients finish eating and they walk by the serving table to say “Thank you, that hit the spot,” or “My compliments to the chef.” Or looking over the table and seeing the smile on their faces while they eat…that’s something I take with me. It brings satisfaction knowing it’s a job well done.
Being a resident of New York, I experience my fair share of tourists and visitors, and spring break is no exception! With the onslaught of teens, tweens and families visiting the “Big Apple” in late April, I was pleasantly surprised to meet a group of high school students at our Community Kitchen who are more interested in community service than Cancun.
These were not your usual spring breakers. They were not in their bikinis and board shorts — instead, they were wearing aprons and gloves, helping our pantry customers shop for their weekly groceries. Part of a larger group of 49 visiting from Erie, PA, this marks the tenth year that Cathedral Preparatory School has organized an alternative Spring Break to New York City. The group sees the sights in the evenings, and daytime is spent volunteering at programs throughout the five boroughs.
After volunteering, the group comes together to reflect on the day’s work, feeling great about serving hundreds of meals at Project Hospitality or helping bag groceries for some of the four thousand families who visit the food bank’s pantry. However, Chris, the group’s adult chaperone, made it very clear that despite feeling exhilarated by helping so many New Yorkers, the group also feels saddened by the enormous need found in our city. “Even one person is one too many,” he expressed to me while discussing the magnitude of poverty in New York. “It feels good to be helping so many people, but it’s also hard because we wish we didn’t have to help any.”
This is a sentiment expressed by many who work with the food bank. We are happy to have the ability to help the four million New Yorkers struggling to afford food; however we wish we didn’t have to. I agree with Chris, even one hungry New Yorker is one too many.
After more than 100 of our supporters suggested names, and more than 250 individuals voted on the name they liked best, the Food Bank For New York City is excited to announce our blog's new name — Bank on It.
Thank you to everyone who suggested names and helped raise awareness for the Food Bank by voting and asking others to vote!
Always ready to help raise awareness for the 4 million New Yorkers who struggle to afford food, amNewYork has been a Food Bank partner for nearly seven years. Just in the past six months, amNewYork turned their masthead orange as part of our NYC Goes Orange campaign and highlighted the Food Bank as their favorite charity on their Facebook fan page.
And today they helped us with yet another shout out – helping to raise awareness for the Food Bank’s blog on Urbanite, one of their many blogs focusing on NYC news, culture and more.
Whether your NYC passion is food, theater, music, politics or pop culture, amNewYork is a great place to stop for city news – and a great ally in the fight to end hunger.
Posted At: April 2, 2009 4:35 PM | Posted By: Food Bank Staff
Food Bank Friends
Pingg, one of the Food Bank’s latest partners, is changing the way hosts create and plan their events on the web. A free invitation creation and event management site, pingg lets design-conscious hosts seamlessly create, send and manage stylish online and print invitations. For Time Out For Hunger, our annual partnership with Time Out New York, pingg designed a series of exclusive invitations, specific to the Time Out For Hunger campaign, that our supporters used to bring friends together to dine out for hunger relief.
And today, pingg pitched in again to help raise awareness for the Food Bank and our new blog with an entry on their blog. Here is a snippet from their entry:
While we love partnering with charities such as the Food Bank For New York City, every effort, no matter how small, can make a big difference. The next time you have people over for dinner, invite online with pingg, attach a link to the Food Bank or your favorite charity to your event web page and easily raise awareness on the issues that matter most to you.
Posted At: January 8, 2009 10:57 AM | Posted By: Food Bank Staff
Food Bank Friends
By Kate Hindin
As the Food Bank For New York City’s Business Partnership Manager, nothing excites me more then seeing large international corporations giving back to the communities they serve. And FedEx is a wonderful example of a gigantic company that makes it a priority to constantly give back to the cities it operates in. This fall we were lucky to have FedEx’s support of our NYC Goes Orange campaign. In addition to the 200,000 meals their sponsorship helped provide through a generous $20,000 matching grant (a matching grant is when your donations are matched, i.e., for every $1 you give, another $1 will be provided), FedEx also volunteered to help make additional food drive pick ups before Thanksgiving, helping us ensure that as much food was collected as possible before the holidays. This incredible support allowed us to collect from an additional 30 Thanksgiving food drives, which amounted to thousands of pounds of food we would now have otherwise been unable to pick up.
On November 24, FedEx employees came to our warehouse in the Bronx to help unload the collected food and repack it into more manageable pantry boxes. When you meet the FedEx employees, it is clear that giving back is a huge priority. They volunteered alongside executive and other FedEx staff, and with smiles and enthusiasm helped provide an additional 10,000 meals to New Yorkers in need! Visit this site for more information about FedEx’s Corporate Social Responsibility.