Stop Food Waste: Hunger & Sustainability

I want you to remember the number 40.

40. Ready?

  • 40% of food is wasted annually in the U.S.
  • 40% of NYC households lack the income needed to cover basic necessities like food, shelter, and childcare
  • 40 million people face hunger every day in the U.S.

These “40” stats were front and center last week during Climate Week in NYC and especially at Stop Food Waste Day at the Javits Center Friday. We were at Stop Food Waste Day, meeting with activists, educators, colleagues, and interested citizens to share ways in which NYCP is working to combat food waste and hunger.

We’ve long wrestled with the fact that we have so much food waste in our city while still so many go hungry. It’s shameful. 

Thankfully, there’s a lot we can do about it. As consumers, food providers, retailers, farmers, policy makers and advocates, we can actively do something about this.

Let me tell you what the New York Common Pantry is doing about it.

We partner with Restaurant Associates – the nation’s premier on-site dining management company – to rescue nutritious food that would otherwise go into a landfill. Last year alone, Restaurant Associates donated over 21,000 pounds of high quality food to the New York Common Pantry that we then gave to pantry members or used in our hot meals program. 

We received over $1.9 million in donated foods last year – over 40% recovered from restaurants, caterers, supermarkets, cafeterias and special events. Drivers and our fleet of vehicles pick up food on weekdays, evenings, at night and on weekends and bring it to our various food programs. 

This food—in fact all the food we procure—goes to serve people we each see in our neighborhoods, on the subway, walking down the street ever day: 

–low income new Yorkers, many working, some working multiple jobs, 

–others living on fixed incomes, like seniors and the disabled. 

–families, single moms, the unemployed and underemployed. 

Every day people. The 1.4 million NY’s that face food insecurity. 

So our food goes directly to the 40% of NYC households that lack the income to cover basic necessities—last year that was 6.5 million meals.  

And importantly, the food we rescue does NOT end up in garbage cans.

The food we recover does NOT end up releasing methane in landfills 

The food we recover does NOT waste valuable resources like water, minerals and feed that went into producing and growing it.

Instead, this food goes to feed our neighbors.  As it was intended.

New York Common Pantry Appoints Elaine Clark as Chair of the Board

Holistic approach to combating hunger sees rising demand as millions face food insecurity

NEW YORK, NY – JULY 15, 2019 – New York Common Pantry (NYCP), the state’s largest community-based food pantry, announced that Elaine Clark has been appointed as Chair of the Board of Directors effective July 1. Elaine will be responsible for the oversight and direction of all NYCP committees, board meetings and fundraising. 

Elaine previously served as Vice Chair on the Board of Directors. She has been involved with the NYCP since 2010, volunteering and serving on the Board’s Personnel and Volunteer Committees. She is a Managing Director and Regional Head Corporate Communications with ING Financial Services LLC (ING).  She has facilitated ING’s involvement with the charity, notably with its Thanksgiving turkey distribution and holiday meals, as well as its involvement in NYCP’s Fill The Bag Benefit, its main annual fundraising event.

“Food security is an issue that impacts millions of New Yorkers. I am grateful to be part of an organization dedicated to solving this problem by providing healthy food options and a suite of services designed to help people get on their feet and restore dignity,” said Elaine. “I will support NYCP in continuing to empower people in need with the resources, tools and education to become self-sufficient and independent. I want to thank ING for allowing me to do this and its commitment to supporting this community and fostering sustainability.”

NYCP reduces hunger and promotes dignity, health and self-sufficiency. While working to reduce hunger and food insecurity the charity also seeks to establish long-term independence for those they serve, including the homeless, families living below the poverty line, veterans, senior citizens and single parents. They have food management programs in which they collect food (Food Rescue)through donations, distribute nutritious, fresh food pantry packages (Choice Pantry), provide balanced breakfast and dinner (Hot Meals) and offer supplemental food for seniors aged 60 and over (Nourish). 

NYCP’s team of case managers support visitors accessing financial resources and benefits (Help 365) and connects homeless visitors to resources and support (Project Dignity). They offer free nutrition education (Live Healthy!) to adults, children and families eligible to receive resources through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) – encouraging participants to embrace resiliency skills and offering support to improve their overall quality of life.

“Unfortunately the economic growth of the past decade has not benefited everyone equally. Rising living costs and wealth disparity have contributed to more people than ever coming through our doors. Last year alone there was a 40 percent increase in meals served at our Choice Pantry Bronx location, and an increase of 24 percent more Hot Meals served,” said Stephen Grimaldi, Executive Director at NYCP. “Elaine’s dedication to the NYCP is an invaluable asset as we look to meet the community’s evolving needs.”

NYCP programs in Manhattan, Bronx and mobile locations in four boroughs provided more than 6 million meals in 2018. Over 80 percent of the food came from donations, including from local establishments. The organization relies on community partners and sponsoring organizations for volunteers, funds, food and other donations. To find out more about getting involved, donating and volunteering, visit this site:

Meet Lisa

Lisa’s story of resilience is powerful and inspiring. This video was created by our amazing supporters the Robin Hood Foundation and includes an introduction by Oprah Winfrey.


Coverage from Spanish-language network Univision, with words from one of our frontline staffers who is meeting with sometimes emotional workers.

In Metro, Executive Director Stephen Grimaldi on our decision to distribute food to the workers

NYC Food Assistance Collaborative: Learn More Through Video Filmed at NYCP

Each year, nearly 1.4 million New Yorkers rely on emergency food assistance. The delivery of that assistance requires a complex network of food suppliers who distribute food to a thousand neighborhood pantries and soup kitchens. Until recently, however, there was little coordination between those suppliers. No one really knew what food was going where, much less whether it was reaching neighborhoods where it was needed.

In 2015, working with the New York City Mayor’s Office of Food Policy, the Helmsley Charitable Trust convened the key players in emergency food assistance – City Harvest, United Way of New York City, New York City Human Resources Administration, and the New York State Department of Health-Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program (HPNAP). Together, they formed the New York City Food Assistance Collaborative, setting out to change and improve the system.

The Collaborative has transformed the system, enabling data-sharing to identify the city’s most underserved neighborhoods and help local pantries build the capacity to distribute another 15 million pounds of food annually.

Watch to learn how successful collaboration is making it possible for more New Yorkers in need to feed themselves and their families.

NYCP Volunteer Akaysha Palmer is New Yorker of the Week!

Akaysha Palmer was a NYCP Summer Intern in 2017, then was hired as a Per Diem staff member, and currently volunteers and serves as a Pantry ambassador. This spring she graduated in the top 10 of her class at Cathedral High School where she received the Public Advocate Award and awards in math and science. Her summer plans include volunteer work in Haiti through the YMCA Global Teens Program. In the fall she’ll begin her Diplomacy and International Relations studies as a MLK Scholar at Seton Hall. Congratulations, Akaysha and thank you for your service to NYCP!

Watch video: New Yorker of the Week Akaysha Palmer: Bronx Food Pantry Volunteer Also Feeds Hearts


NYCP/Short Stems Food Rescue Partnership Featured in Phil & Co Podcast

The founder of Short Stems shares the story of our unique Food Rescue partnership. Listen here: Short Stems & NYCP on unPhiltered podcast.

Short Stems upcycles cans for their arrangements while providing food for hungry New Yorkers via NYCP. Company founder Wyndy Sloan says, “The business model merges my background in design and social good. It was really important to me to find the right partner that feeds the community. New York Common Pantry really liked the idea and has been so appreciative.”

NYCP’s Balance of Tech & Human Touch Highlighted in The Chronicle of Philanthropy

APRIL 30, 2018

Rise of Robots Makes Nonprofit Workers More Essential Than Ever


In March of 2017, a small fleet of GPS-enabled delivery robots took to the streets of Washington to deliver food. These automated 35-pound, six-wheeled takeout containers — created by the co-founders of Skype — are just at the head of the oncoming wave of automation.

Although robots on wheels may be on pace to replace food-delivery jobs in our nation’s capital, one thing they won’t be threatening are groups like Meals on Wheels. More important than delivering food, programs like these are delivering human contact that helps connect homebound older people with the outside world. This is the kind of work that depends on social intelligence, and it won’t easily be replaced by a robot.

So even as experts predict half the American workforce could find their jobs wiped out in coming decades, the nonprofit world faces a great opportunity: The jobs that are the safest from automation rely on creativity, social intelligence, perception, and manipulation. For at least the next two decades, machines will continue to struggle in matching the human brain’s ability to understand and empathize with others.

This means that, in the coming decade, America’s nonprofits will go from a nice addition to a necessary player in our economic and labor success.

Read the full article here: NYCP in Chronicle of Philanthropy 4_30_2018 (PDF)

NYCP Receives Grant and 1,400 Hours of Volunteer Service from AIG


AIG has renewed its grant support of NYCP and its employees have provided almost 1,400 hours of volunteer service over the past six years. The partnership between AIG and NYCP is based in long-term volunteerism and on-site volunteer participation.  In the past year alone, 148 AIG volunteers served on 9 service days in the Choice Pantry program. AIG also supports the Fill The Bag benefit, the Larry Morales Toy Drive and holiday food drives.

NYCP’s Executive Director Stephen Grimaldi says, “We are incredibly grateful for AIG’s ongoing financial and volunteer support. Need in New York City doesn’t slow down in the summer, but our volunteer pool does get smaller. We can count on our dedicated AIG volunteers year-round and value this robust partnership.”

AIG employees volunteer thousands of hours to nonprofits in the communities where they work, live, and serve their customers. At the corporate level, AIG global charitable giving program reflects three broad social themes: safety, security, and disaster preparedness and relief. To learn more about AIG’s Corporate Citizenship, visit: