I last wrote for this blog in September and, although it was less than two months ago, it seems like a lifetime has passed.
A lot has happened since then–the migrant crisis has continued unabated, inflation has increased the costs of food and other necessities and the rate of food insecurity is still on the rise. In response, NYCP has seen more visitors and served more meals.
Earlier this month we did an assessment of food prices for the first quarter of our fiscal year (July through September). We found that our overall food costs are up over 20% as compared to the last quarter of FY22. This, coupled with a 23% increase in visitors, means we are responding to yet another crisis.
Thanksgiving is always a time when these problems, compounded by social isolation and soaring household bills, are front and center. But 2022 has taken these issues to another level. Add to this the nationwide shortage of turkeys, and some families will be unable to celebrate the holiday with a traditional meal. NYCP is doing its part to help some of these families by providing more than 3,000 turkeys and 2,000 bags of Thanksgiving meal packages this holiday season.
Recently NYCP began partially utilizing our new Food Storage and Distribution Hub (The Hub) —a 23,000 square foot facility that will allow us to increase our food distribution by approximately 2 million meals per year. It also will facilitate our ability to centralize deliveries, pack for the Mobile Pantry and Nourish programs and store significantly more food than we can accommodate at our current locations.
While the full benefits of this new space will take time to actualize, we’ve already been able to receive and store 2,000 turkeys, 100 hams and almost 100,000 pounds of dry goods. While some of this food will be packed in Thanksgiving packages for our guests, most of it will be distributed in the week’s deliveries to our Mobile sites. For perspective, we accept well over 800,000 pounds of shelf-stable groceries each week. We will continue to transition more of this new space during the coming months, enabling us to serve more sites and more people, to meet the demands of those in need.
For us to succeed and answer this growing crisis, we need your help along the way!
– Stephen Grimaldi
Executive Director, New York Common Pantry