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Food Bank For New York City

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About Our Terminology


Question graphic What's an emergency food program?
Answer graphic Emergency food programs include food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. The Food Bank serves approximately 600 food pantries, 196 soup kitchens and 44 shelters throughout the city.
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Question graphic What's the difference between a food bank and a food pantry?
Answer graphic A food bank solicits, collects, stores and distributes large donations of food to a variety of food programs, including food pantries. Food Bank For New York City is a food bank. Learn more about our Food Sourcing & Distribution Programs.

A food pantry provides three- to five-day bags of food directly to families and individuals who have a place to live but not enough food. These packages are designed to provide nutritionally balanced meals. Food pantries are a key source of emergency food security for low-income families, the working poor and for those whose food stamp benefits run out before month's end. Many food pantries provide additional services, such as clothing distribution and referrals to social-service agencies. The Food Bank operates a choice-style food pantry at our Community Kitchen and serves approximately 600 food pantries as part of our food program network.
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Question graphic What's the difference between a food pantry and a soup kitchen?
Answer graphic A food pantry provides three- to five-day bags of food directly to families and individuals who have a place to live but not enough food. These packages are designed to provide nutritionally balanced meals. Pantries are a key source of emergency food security for the working poor and for those whose food stamp benefits run out before month's end. Many pantries provide additional services, such as clothing distribution and referrals to social-service agencies.

A soup kitchen prepares food into hot, nutritious meals for those in need. For some of the soup kitchen's walk-ins, this is their only meal of the day. Many soup kitchens also serve needy people who are homebound. The larger soup kitchens in the city serve as many as 5,000 meals a week.

The Food Bank operates a food pantry and soup kitchen at our Community Kitchen and serves approximately 600 food pantries and 196 soup kitchens as part of our food program network.
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