Celebrities including Tracy Morgan, Bella Hadid, Omar Epps, Julie Chen, Drea de Matteo, Alyssa Milano, New York Nico and Selita Ebanks rallied fans to compete in the challenge on social media
(January 14, 2022, New York, NY) — Food Bank For New York City, along with longtime partner Bank of America, and media partners iHeartMedia, Univision and WNBC, wrapped up the 2nd annual 5-Borough Challenge on December 31st. Food Bank blew past their $200,000 fundraising goal, raising a total of $251,723. This year, Tracy Morgan, Bella Hadid, Aaron Boone, TT Torrez, Omar Epps, Julie Chen, Drea de Matteo, Alyssa Milano and Selita Ebanks participated, playing hometown heroes to represent the boroughs in which they grew up. Bank of America committed a $100,000 donation to the Food Bank to be used as a match incentive for the campaign.
“Food Bank For New York City is proud to partner with Bank of America and all of our celebrity borough representatives to reach as many New Yorkers in need as we can during these difficult, colder months,” said Leslie Gordon, President & CEO of Food Bank For New York City. “The fight against food insecurity in New York City is more important than ever, and we are honored to serve our community, using nutritious food to provide comfort and healing during unprecedented times.”
The 5-Borough Challenge is an annual social media initiative that contributes to Food Bank’s overall goal of providing 20 million meals during the holidays to New Yorkers in need. Many of New York City’s influencers and celebrities took to social media to show off their home-borough pride, encouraging their fans and friends to join in the challenge and donate to their team borough.
The challenge consisted of five teams, one for each NYC borough, with a goal of raising $20,000 each. Team Bronx came out on top this year with a grand total of $20,384 Team Brooklyn was a close second to Team Bronx with $19,488. Team Manhattan raised $16,612, Team Queens raised $10,672, and Team Staten Island raised $6,416. The five boroughs beat the overall fundraising goal by more than 25%.
“Working collectively with Bank of America, many friends and supporters, we are proud to have raised $251,723 for New Yorkers in need, supporting our goal of providing 20 million meals by the end of 2021. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, these funds are more vital than ever,” said Janis Robinson, Vice President of Institutions and Partnerships at Food Bank For New York City.
“I think all the five boroughs win when we’re able to raise the kind of funds and food we’re able to for people in need,” noted Aaron Boone, New York Yankees manager and captain of Team Bronx in a social media video he shared with Food Bank.
With the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic putting many people out of work and rapidly increasing the need for assistance, the demand on the emergency food network has surged. Food Bank For New York City reports that the vast majority of soup kitchens and food pantries have been serving more New Yorkers during the pandemic than they were previously. Many agencies, including Food Bank, have seen their number of visitors double. Even before the on-set of COVID-19, the demand for life-sustaining food was already high–nearly 1.1 million New Yorkers were already food insecure, and that number has increased to 1.6 million.
# # #
About Food Bank For New York City
Since 1983, Food Bank For New York City has been the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end hunger throughout the five boroughs. Nearly one in five New Yorkers relies on Food Bank for food and other resources. Food Bank takes a strategic, multifaceted approach that provides meals and builds capacity in the neediest communities, while raising awareness and engagement among all New Yorkers. Through its network of more than 1,000 charities and schools citywide, Food Bank provided more than 80 million free meals last year for New Yorkers in need. Food Bank For New York City’s income support services, including food stamps (also known as SNAP) and free tax assistance for the working poor, put nearly $36 million each year into the pockets of New Yorkers, helping them to afford food and achieve greater dignity and independence. Food Bank’s nutrition education programs and services empower more than 50,000 children, teens and adults to sustain a healthy diet and active lifestyle on a limited budget. Working toward long-term solutions to food poverty, Food Bank develops policy and conducts research to inform community and government efforts. To learn more about how you can help, please visit foodbanknyc.org. Follow us on Facebook (FoodBank4NYC), Twitter (@FoodBank4NYC) and Instagram (@FoodBank4NYC).