Spirit of New York Common Pantry

My deepest thanks to all of you for helping NYCP provide essential services to the food insecure.  Whether you have been a regular or periodic volunteer, come in groups or as an individual, help in the hot meals, the Choice Pantry program, or the countless other ways that we have asked you to in the past–thank you. We can’t do what we do without you.

No words can express how challenging the last two weeks have been for our city, and this has extended, inevitably, to NYCP. We’ve had to change so many of the ways we do things, even those we hold dear, like the principles of choice in our pantry, the ability for those we serve to come together in a group setting, and the sense of community that each of you imbue in our work 365 days a year. While we focus on the most important core services, and simultaneous focus on safety, hygiene, and maintaining our health and sanity, we also mourn the loss of connection to all of you. In due time, and slowly, volunteers will again be asked to assist us in fulfilling our mission. And there will be new opportunities over time–and we will communicate those to you as we go. Some of those could include doing things from your home. Stay tuned.

This week, while stressful and difficult as we learned of new restrictions and adapted accordingly, was also inspiring. At multiple locations across our city, NYCP served over 20,000 meals to over a thousand people. Staff, working staggered schedules across sites, demonstrated a profound and unwavering commitment in the fulfillment of our mission.  And it’s been a team effort—others have been able to secure hundreds of fresh and prepared donated meals, pallets of beverages, and thousands of pounds of donated food and vital financial support to keep the wheels rotating and the engines running.

 As you are likely aware, the Governor is mandating that those that are not providing essential services stay home so the people providing vital and essential services–social workers, nurses, grocery workers, postal clerks, and emergency food, pantry and meal workers (us!)– can continue to operate, get where we need to go and serve who we need to serve while minimizing congestion and exposure. He also made it clear that the MTA will remain open for all of us providing essential services. 

With the economy in a tailspin, and our brothers and sisters in the food services and hospitality industry already out of work due to this crisis, we will again be asked to rise to the occasion and help those that have no safety net and live paycheck-to-paycheck. This means our services are going to be needed more than ever for the near and medium term. 

Our city needs places like NYCP more than ever. Without the work you do, thousands could go hungry, especially those without resources, mobility and social supports. 

That’s the challenge facing us now.  Thanks for being up to that challenge.

Stephen Grimaldi

Executive Director, NYCP