#BetterTogether: CBS New York and NY Common Pantry working together to provide holiday meals

By CBS New York Team, Jessica Moore 


NEW YORK — CBS New York and the New York Common Pantry are teaming up to put food on people’s tables this holiday season

Together, we’re raising awareness of the challenges many communities face, like food insecurity and the causes behind it. 

Our teams of volunteers in Harlem and the Bronx spent Saturday morning working hard to give back. 

Dana Tyler and John Elliott were with the team at the Food Storage and Distribution Hub in Hunts Point. 

“The Bronx is the most food insecure borough in New York City. One out of five residents in the Bronx faces food insecurity,” said Judy Secon, deputy executive director at New York Common Pantry.

Together, the group packed around 1,200 bags of dry goods and produce, sorted 7,200 lbs. of donated foods, and created about 350 produce bags of potatoes, onions and apples.

“It’s not just about filling their bellies with empty calories. It’s about filling their souls and their bodies with nutritious food,” Secon said.

“Which is all about dignity,” Tyler said.

“It’s all about dignity. And it’s also recognizing that food insecurity is one of the social determinates of health,” Secon said.

Elliott asked CBS New York’s Cindy Hsu how it felt to be volunteering.

“It’s amazing. I think it reminds you of what the holidays are really all about. I think we get so wrapped up in what are we getting for someone, the stress, this and the other, and I’m sitting here talking with Tony Aiello and Greg was here, and he works with Common Pantry and it’s just, we’re having the best time,” Hsu said.

“It’s so fulfilling because every week there’s different volunteers from different organizations, and how awesome is it that Channel 2 is here today doing our part?” Aiello said.

Jessi Mitchell was with the team at the Choice Pantry on East 109th Street in Harlem. There, CBS New York staff packed enough bags of food to feed around 150 families.

Steven Grimaldi told Mitchell the need this year is even greater.

“We were seeing increases before the migrant crisis. With the migrant crisis, we’ve seen huge increases. Our hot meal program and our brown bag program combined, up 54%,” he said.

The team also made hundreds of sandwiches for brown bag lunches and talked about what giving back means to them.

“There are just so many families in the city that are food insecure and don’t have food and aren’t able to feed their kids three meals a day, and so it feels good to help in a little way,” CBS New York’s Ali Bauman said.

You can join our #BetterTogether: Season of Giving campaign to provide families in need with food.

Click here to make a donation. 

About NY Common Pantry

New York Common Pantry opened its doors in 1980 serving 30 families. Now the community-based food pantry serves more than 500,000 people annually.

They work to reduce hunger and food insecurity by offering programs to help those they serve with everything from fresh food to housing and educational resources.

To make a donation, CLICK HERE


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