New York Common Pantry Through The Years…



New York Common Pantry History

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(YCP), has grown into New York City’s most innovative emergency food provider, offering meals and support services to over 500,000 visitors annually. Rebranded as New York Common Pantry (NYCP) in 2012, 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 40 years, our mission to reduce hunger and promote health, dignity and self-sufficiency has remained constant. In addition, NYCP’s commitment to innovation and collaboration has defined its unique standing among other food programs in New York City.


1979/1980- Yorkville Common Pantry is formed

1982 – Yorkville Common Pantry becomes a 501C3 organization and begins operating at PS 151 at 1st Avenue and 91st street

1986/7 – The 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 HIV/AIDS


1992 – Common Pantry raises $700,000 for renovations

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 eight homeless Project Dignity clients and offers volunteer health care services


2003 – Common Pantry opens the 24/7YCP program, the only 24 hour, 7 day-a-week emergency food program in New York State; also begins to teach nutrition education through “Vegetable of the Month” curriculum

2005 – Food Bank for NYC honors Common Pantry as its ‘Food Program of the Year’

2007 – Common Pantry renovates its facility

2009 – Common Pantry receives Robin Hood Foundation’s ‘Hero Award’. 24/7YCP converts to 365 YCP (now HELP 365), with specific focus on benefits for visitors


2010 – YCP undertakes the “Fresh Food Initiative” greatly reducing the purchase of canned fruits and vegetables and using saved resources to triple the amount of fresh food by purchasing directly from farmers, while also leveraging increased donated produce

2011 – Members begin picking the nutritious foods they would like to receive by ordering from home or on smart tablets at the Pantry thru our innovative electronic Choice Pantry model. Our nutrition education program swells to 186 sessions in one year (5,000 visitors), more than double the sessions offered in 2010

2012 – The need created by Superstorm Sandy spurs our disaster relief efforts and thereafter, mobile food delivery programming. YCP rebrands as New York Common Pantry.

2013 – We receive first-ever Innovation Award from Food Bank for NYC for our Choice Pantry ordering system

2014 – We continue our desire to expand service to the whole city by applying for, and receiving grants for two mobile programs–Live Healthy! and CSFP/Nourish

2015 – NYCP receives the New York Community Trust Nonprofit Excellence Award for “Overall Management Excellence”. NYC rents two new spaces in the Bronx, including a main Nourish service center in Mott Haven and warehouse in Hunts Point

2016 – NYCP distributes and accesses over $6 million in resources for those we serve. Our Nourish program grows to serve over 13,000 seniors at 97 partner sites across four boroughs, and Live Healthy! serves almost 30,000 individuals in 4 boroughs

2017 – NYCP collaborates with Banana Kelly, a non-profit in the south Bronx, to open a second fixed Choice Pantry at 1290 Hoe Avenue (Choice Pantry Bronx). NYCP expands Help 365 mobile program through a Targeted SNAP grant, adding 4 case managers to go to underserved communities throughout NYC. Nourish begins serving Yonkers, the first time YCP/NYCP delivers services to those outside NYC.

2019—NYCP serves 64,000 distinct people, over half a million visitors, almost 6.5 million meals across programs, while accessing close to $9 million in resources for those we serve through our Help 365 programs

2020—NYCP In the face of unprecedented rates of food insecurity due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, NYCP continued to provide meals and services to the community. Since the start of the pandemic, NYCP served almost 9 million meals, 350,000 individuals, 229,000 seniors, and had 6,157 new intakes. 2020 also saw the launch of Mobile Pantry, a fully equipped vehicle to provide fresh food and pantry services directly to individuals in the 5 boroughs.