New York Common Pantry over the years …


New York Common Pantry is one of New York City’s largest single-site community based food pantries. Since opening in 1980 as a small neighborhood pantry serving 30 families, what was originally called Yorkville Common Pantry has grown into New York City’s most innovative emergency food provider offering meals and support services to nearly 400,000 individuals. Now known as New York Common Pantry, we have undertaken a multitude of new initiatives that help make a difference in the lives of our clients. While the programs have expanded and changed over the past 30 years, our mission to reduce hunger and promote dignity and self-sufficiency has remained constant. In addition, the Common Pantry’s commitment to innovation and collaboration in order to better serve the community’s needs has defined its unique standing among other food programs in New York City.


1980 – Yorkville Common Pantry becomes one of the first 20 emergency food pantries in NYC, distributing to 30 families in the basement of Holy Trinity Church.
1982 – Common Pantry begins operating its first hot meal program at PS 151 at 1st Avenue and 91st Street.
1986/7 – Pantry program expands to new facilities on 109th Street in East Harlem.
1987 – Common Pantry provides complete holiday dinners for 250 families.
1988 – Common Pantry partners with Momentum to start “Lunch for Life” Program, to serve people living with AIDS.


1992 – Common Pantry’s first Capital Campaign raises $700,000 for renovations.
1992 – Project Dignity begins serving breakfast 5 days a week. Showers and laundry facilities are provided for the first time as well.
1993 – Common Pantry holds its first Joint School Association dances for 6th and 7th grade students from local Independent Schools.
1994 – Common Pantry begins operating a small overnight shelter for 8 homeless Project Dignity clients.
1997 – Mt. Sinai Hospital offers volunteer health care services at the Common Pantry.


2000 – Due to growing incidence of unemployment, Common Pantry adds Saturday as Pantry Distribution Day.
2002 – Hot Meal Program moves to join with Pantry operations at 8 East 109th Street.
2003 – Common Pantry opens the 24|7YCP program, the only 24 hour, 7 day-a-week emergency food program in New York State.
2005 – Food Bank for NYC honors Common Pantry as its ‘Food Program of the Year’.
2007 – Common Pantry renovates its facility, adding a third floor to reduce wait time and increase the number of people served.
2009 – Common Pantry receives Robin Hood Foundation’s “Hero Award” and for the first time serves 2 million meals. 24|7YCP converts to 365 YCP (Now Help365), with specific focus on acquiring benefits and entitlements for Common Pantry visitors.


2010 – Fresh Food Initiative reduces canned fruits and vegetables served and triples the amount of fresh food received by pantry members.
2011 – Conversion to Choice Pantry empowers members to pick the nutritious foods they’d like to receive, by ordering from home or on smart tablets at the Pantry. 365 YCP (Help365) and onsite partners access over $3.4 million in benefits, entitlements, and tax assistance for Common Pantry families. Nutrition Initiative for Children and Families (NICF) swells to 186 sessions in one year, more than double the sessions offered in 2010. 5,521 individuals participate in NICF sessions.
2012 – The need created by Superstorm Sandy spurs our first city-wide disaster relief.
2013 – We change our name to New York Common Pantry; receive first-ever Innovation Award from Food Bank for NYC.
2014 – We continue our historic expansion to serve the whole city, bringing Help 365 Mobile and Live Healthy! Eat Smart New York services to new sites serving thousands of residents.
2015 – Launched Nourish, a commodity supplementary food program for seniors, and opened two sites in the Bronx.
2016 – Distributed over 3 million meals and accessed over $6 million in resources for those we serve. Our Nourish program grew to serve over 13,000 seniors at 97 partner sites across 4 boroughs, and Live Healthy! served almost 30,000 individuals in 4 boroughs by the end of its 2015-16 contract year.
2017 – In late April, Choice Pantry Bronx opens at 1290 Hoe Avenue to meet the high need in the South Bronx. The location is a result of a partnership with the Banana Kelly Community Improvement Association, Inc. New York Common Pantry distributes 6 million meals and the Nourish program for seniors reaches full caseload.
2018 — We complete all the steps in in the 5-year strategic plan adopted in 2012, and right away begin planning our next 5 years. Choice Pantry Bronx serves 7,281 individuals with 540,258 meals.