Devastating 2017 Hurricane Season Highlights Need for Robust Training
In the midst of one of the most devastating hurricane seasons in recent memory, Food Bank For New York City held a surprise disaster response drill at its 90,000-square foot warehouse in the Bronx. After 2012’s Superstorm Sandy devastated New Yorkers in need, Food Bank provided comprehensive emergency nutritional assistance. Now, as organizations from Puerto Rico to Houston struggle with ongoing disaster relief, Food Bank For New York City is focusing on continuous training for the next natural disaster to hit NYC.
When Food Bankers arrived at work on October 27, 2017, they were thrown into a mock hurricane scenario, split into teams, and tasked with developing comprehensive food distribution plans for ensuring that New Yorkers received critical resources in the aftermath of the storm. Teams worked to mobilize the organization in the face of yet another major storm, the fictional Hurricane Darrell. In this scenario, electricity, transpiration, bridges, gasoline and communications services were out throughout the city—including at Food Bank’s headquarters in Lower Manhattan.
The groups called on government partners in putting together their plans including New York City Office of Emergency management, New York City Human Resources Administration and New York State’s Nonprofit Coordination Unit.
“This disaster drill was a valuable opportunity for Food Bank For New York City to hone our rapid response skills so that we are prepared when the next crisis hits New York City. We’ve supported our sister food banks across the country in response to devastating storms this hurricane season, and this work strengthened our resolve to ensure that every Food Bank leader has the ability to respond quickly and efficiently in a disaster, regardless of their ability to access to resources like staff and technology,” said Margarette Purvis, President and CEO of Food Bank For New York City. “Superstorm Sandy showed us that disasters make emergency food clients out of everyday New Yorkers. It is our duty to the people of this city to always be prepared.”
This disaster relief drill focused on maintaining the high quality of service Food Bank For New York City provided during Superstorm Sandy in 2012. Sandy was an equal opportunity storm that dealt a major blow to many of the 1.5 million New Yorkers who rely on Food Bank For New York City, while introducing hunger to others for the first time. Food Bank hit the ground running, distributing more than 15.1 million pounds of food to the areas hit hardest, the equivalent of more than 12.5 million meals. Food Bank also mobilized more than 5,000 volunteers to support high-needs areas hit by Sandy, and provided more than $1.4 million in operational and capacity-building grants to member charities for disaster relief.
During the 2017 hurricane season, Food Bank worked with its sister organizations impacted by major storms in Texas, Florida and the Caribbean to share lessons learned during Sandy. Food Bank offered training and support in logistics, warehousing, distribution, transportation and food safety. Additionally, Food Bank sent approximately 20,000 meals and critical supplies to Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico.
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About Food Bank For New York City
Food Bank For New York City has been the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end hunger throughout the five boroughs for more than 30 years. 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 provides food for more than 61 million free meals 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 more than $110 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 on a low 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 (FoodBankNYC), Twitter (@FoodBank4NYC) and Instagram (FoodBank4NYC).