Food Bank Serves Up Friendly Competition Kicking Off 5-Borough Challenge This Holiday Season

FBNYC Launches 5 Borough Challenge

November 27, 2020

Contact: Lindsey Brown-McLravy,
Joana Casas-Acosta,

NYC Celebrities Including Desus Nice, Tracy Morgan, Nia Long, and Alyssa Milano to Represent Hometown Borough in Competition Aiming to Raise a Total of 1 Million Meals for those in Need

Bank of America Pledges $100,000 to Match Funds Raised

New York, NY — Food Bank For New York City, along with longtime partner Bank of America, and media partners HOT 97 and WBLS, today kicked off the 5-Borough Challenge – a social media and crowdfunding initiative to raise money to provide 1 million meals by the end of the year. Native and current New York celebrities will bolster their home-borough pride with a friendly fundraising competition encouraging their fans and egging their friends to donate to their team borough through social media.

The challenge consists of five teams, one for each borough, each with a goal of raising money for 200,000 meals in hope of raising a total of 1 million meals.

Desus Nice will represent Team Bronx; Tracy Morgan, Nia Long, and Omar Epps and will represent Team Brooklyn; Drea de Matteo and Julie Chen will represent Team Queens; Alyssa Milano and Selita Ebanks will represent Team Staten Island; and Eli Brown, Tamron Hall, and New York Nico will represent Team Manhattan.

The 5-Borough Challenge kicks off on Black Friday, November 27, the day after Thanksgiving, statistically one of the hardest days of the year for New Yorkers in need of a meal, when many soup kitchens and food pantries are closed. 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 have seen their number of visitors double. Even before COVID-19, the demand for food was already high: nearly 1.2 million New Yorkers were already food insecure.

Bank of America has committed a $100,000 donation to Food Bank to be used as a match incentive for the campaign. As media partners, HOT 97 and WBLS will participate in the challenge by providing station influencers and DJs as teammates and promoting the campaign on-air and digitally throughout the campaign.

“Bank of America has a yearly tradition of spending the holidays with the Food Bank For New York City, from our volunteer efforts to our commitments of support. Despite the challenges of 2020, this year, we are proud to keep our tradition alive as the financial partner of the 5-Borough Challenge,” said Anne Walker, New York City market president for Bank of America. “I urge everyone, who is able, to contribute to this campaign and rally all corners of our city to come together virtually to support New Yorkers in need.”

“We are so happy to continue our partnership with the Food Bank For New York City to help and serve our community,” said Pio Ferro, HOT 97 and WBLS’ VP of Programming. “This is an unprecedented Holiday season and I know our teams will help reach the goal of 1 million meals.”

“New Yorkers know how to come together when times are tough. And this year, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re proving once again just how resilient we are,” said Janis Robinson, Vice President of Institutions and Partnerships at Food Bank For New York City. “The 5-Borough Challenge is our love letter to New York City – our way of showing that no matter what borough you call home, we always stand together and support our neighbors in need. We are so grateful for our team captains, Hot 97 and WBLS, and our longtime partner Bank of America for helping us provide warm meals across the five boroughs this holiday season.”

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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 Follow us on Facebook (FoodBank4NYC), Twitter (@FoodBank4NYC) and Instagram (@FoodBank4NYC).

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About Bank of America

About Bank of America: At Bank of America, we’re guided by a common purpose to help make financial lives better, through the power of every connection. We’re delivering on this through responsible growth with a focus on our environmental, social and governance (ESG) leadership. ESG is embedded across our eight lines of business and reflects how we help fuel the global economy, build trust and credibility, and represent a company that people want to work for, invest in and do business with. It’s demonstrated in the inclusive and supportive workplace we create for our employees, the responsible products and services we offer our clients, and the impact we make around the world in helping local economies thrive. An important part of this work is forming strong partnerships with nonprofits and advocacy groups, such as community, consumer and environmental organizations, to bring together our collective networks and expertise to achieve greater impact. Learn more at, and connect with us on Twitter (@BofA_News).

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About HOT 97

WQHT HOT 97 FM is the world’s first all Hip Hop station and has held the dominant position as culture creators in New York and beyond for over twenty five years. HOT 97 is best known for its celebrity on-air talent, such as Ebro Darden (Asst. Program Director, host of Ebro In The Morning, Apple Music Executive), Funk Flex (television host, multiple gold records), DJ Enuff (President of the Heavy Hitters DJ crew), Drewski (Vh1’s Love & Hip Hop), Peter Rosenberg (Ebro In The Morning, ESPN, WWE, and Complex host) and Nessa (host for MTV’s Total Request Late Night, and NBC/USA Networks Talk Stoop), as well as being the world’s premier source for Hip Hop music culture. HOT 97 online and the HOT 97 app are the destinations for original web series, celebrity content, concerts, and music videos. For more information, please visit, or

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About WBLS

For over 40 years WBLS has been America’s most recognizable Black radio station, serving as a source of entertainment, information, and empowering programming for the community. 60% of WBLS’ Urban Adult Contemporary audience are between the ages of 25-54. Broadcasting award winning and internationally known personalities like Steve Harvey, Shaila, Deja Vu, Lenny Green, Dahved Levy, DJ Marley Marl, DJ Red Alert, Chuck Chillout & more. Living here, breathing here, being here – today, WBLS remains at the heart of the Black community and serves as the #1 source for R&B Music and Lifestyle in the Tri-State. Connect with us at, on Instagram @wbls1075nyc, Twitter @wbls1075fm, and at

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