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Looking Back, Moving Forward: A Holiday Message from Food Bank For New York City CEO, Margarette Purvis

A Special Holiday Message From Food Bank CEO Margarette Purvis

Looking Back (Big)This was one of the hardest times of my life in which one minute I had a home and the next minute it was gone. I can’t begin to thank Food Bank’s chefs, volunteers and staff for throwing such a nice event for all of us!

-Jon, 17 (Far Rockaway)

Every year I open holiday cards to place on my mantle. It’s become the best way to see how much my friends’ kids have grown and the interesting choices some will make with the latest doggy holiday couture! This year, however I’m thumbing through countless thank you letters like the one above from Jon and many other accounts from the families we’ve served who are still being impacted by Sandy.

New Yorkers may not be known for being holiday carolers but the solidarity of our city during very difficult times cannot be denied. All of us at Food Bank are grateful for the daily reminders that we truly are all in this together. The past year tested our resolve like never before. Even before Sandy’s assault on our city, soup kitchens and food pantries in every borough had lost a staggering 11 million meals due to federal spending cuts—meals that were critical to the three million New Yorkers who have difficulty affording food. The most vulnerable in our city are more so now.

But every crisis brings with it the opportunity to reveal who you are. New Yorkers have faced this test with trademark resilience and the Food Bank has been right there, helping our neighbors every step of the way. During a disaster, as Sandy most certainly is, Food Bank’s network and partners come together to make sure no New Yorker is left behind. Our trucks were on the road from Day One of the storm, and every day since. We have mobilized more than 3,000 volunteers in a matter of weeks. And our members have rallied to meet the needs of an increased clientele, even though they are working with fewer staff and fewer resources.

At the end of the day, my seat at the Food Bank gives me the best perspective of all: a clear look at the power of resilience in service to others even in the most devastating of times. Love and commitment of community have been the heart of the Food Bank since we first opened our doors in 1983. Food Bank will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2013 and I’m incredibly proud to be a part of this legacy. My hope is that the work we’ve done in that time—and continue to do—will help bring an end to the hurt of hunger that is both prevalent and preventable.

So as we say farewell to 2012 and welcome a New Year full of promise, we must remember that the fight isn’t over. We still have a long way to go. But together we can help all New Yorkers share in the blessings of the holiday, the New Year, and every year thereafter.

Wishing you a Happy Holiday,
From the Desk of Margarette PurvisMargarette Purvis

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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