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In 2021, Food Bank safely distributed more than 121 million meals – more than ever before in a single year in the organization’s history

July 12, 2022, New York, NY—Food Bank For New York City releases their 2021 Annual Impact Report today. Data in the report shows that Food Bank’s network of over 800 soup kitchens and pantries saw a 93% increase in new visitors compared to the previous year as food and gas prices, rent, and unemployment numbers soared. In response, the organization doubled down on their singular mission to feed all. In total, Food Bank safely distributed more than 121 million meals in 2021 – more than ever before in a single year in the organization’s history. Additionally, new and innovative approaches to service-delivery forged ahead and historic financial investments were made to ensure 1.6 million New Yorkers didn’t go to bed hungry. Highlights from Food Bank’s latest Annual Impact Report also show the following:

  • 23 million pounds: The amount of fresh produce distributed to New Yorkers in need; keeping up with the demand generated by the pandemic in the previous year.
  • 3 million pounds: The amount of hygiene, baby essentials and personal protective equipment (PPE) provided and distributed to our neighbors.
  • 8,000 units of capital equipment: From forklifts to trucks, Food Bank provided essential equipment and supplies throughout the pandemic to help their member agencies on the ground safely store and distribute more food than ever.

“In 2021, we advanced and strengthened Food Bank’s operations and logistics, bolstered fundraising efforts, and identified new and innovative ways to source, purchase and distribute food to build resilience for future crises,” said Leslie Gordon, President and  CEO of Food Bank For New York City. “In my lifelong career of fighting for New Yorkers facing hunger, I’ve learned that we pave our path by walking it. The pandemic may have been unflinching, but so are we.”

The latest report shows the bold steps taken to deliver food, meals, and other critical resources into households across New York City. To achieve this, Food Bank put their mission “on wheels” and introduced a mobile pantry program. The mobile pantries were stocked with enough fresh produce as well as grains and protein to feed over 300 families with each visit. And, to meet the diverse needs of its neighbors, Food Bank enlisted the support of companies including Stop & Shop and Delta Airlines to help provide culturally relevant food items, including halal, kosher and vegetarian. In its first twelve months, the mobile pantry program provided more than 500,000 meals to neighbors in need.

Adding to its pandemic response, Food Bank also launched a series of large-scale, pop-up food distributions at Lincoln Center in Manhattan, the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, and Yankee Stadium in the Bronx. These recurring distributions expanded access to food and served thousands of households. Since the start of Food Bank’s pandemic response, these pop-ups have nourished more than 56,000 New Yorkers.

Food Bank’s commitment to serving high need communities remained strong, as demonstrated in its latest report. For instance, the organization invested $14 million into its member networks of more than 800 food pantries, soup kitchens, schools and shelters across the five boroughs. This investment enabled community-based organizations to grow their staff and cover utility costs; and to secure new freezers, forklifts, hand trucks, refrigerators and equipment needed to operative effectively and efficiently.

Food Bank’s work to feed all New Yorkers may start at the pantry line, but that’s hardly where it ends. One of the many ways the organization does that is through free, reliable and professional tax preparation. Now in its in 20th year, Food Bank’s tax preparation program has put millions of dollars back into the pocket of hardworking New Yorkers. And in this year’s Annual Impact Report, findings include:

  • Food Bank’s team of IRS-certified volunteers prepared more than 17,500 returns, yielding over $30 million in refunds for New Yorkers across the city.
  • Food Bank helped filers save an estimated $7.9 million in tax preparation fees resulting in a total economic impact of nearly $47.5 million.

For many individuals and families who rely on soup kitchens and food pantries, a tax return is often the single largest lump sum of money they receive all year. Reports have shown that more often than not, families use tax returns to help cover the cost of rent or to purchase school supplies for children.

Looking ahead, Food Bank’s Community Kitchen and Pantry located in West Harlem is on track to providing close to 200,000 prepared meals in 2022 with 120,000 grand and go meals distributed to individuals and families and 40,000 grab and go senior meals distributed. With the hopes of continuing to help feed every New Yorker throughout the five boroughs, Food Bank will also continue to work towards expanding its member services by adding approximately 24 new members to its current network roster.

Read the full Annual Impact Report here.


About Food Bank For New York City

Food Bank For New York City has been fighting hunger on the ground since 1983. By partnering with over 800 soup kitchens, food pantries, and campus partners across the five boroughs, Food Bank is able to make a direct impact in the communities that need it most, providing some 1.2 billion meals to New Yorkers since its founding. But food alone can’t solve hunger. That’s why Food Bank employs a two-prong approach of Community Nourishment programming (to provide immediate and reliable access to food today) with Economic Empowerment programming (to equip people with the tools they need to achieve food security into tomorrow and beyond). All of these services – from grab-and-go pantry bags to hot meals, tax filing assistance, SNAP enrollment, nutrition education, and financial empowerment workshops – are free and available to anyone who needs them. To learn more about Food Bank’s mission to dignify, nourish, and empower ALL New Yorkers facing food insecurity, visit

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