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COVID-19

Everything I’ve Heard About: FOOD

These are difficult times, and we’re doing our best to keep Manhattan informed – which is why we’ve been putting out our daily COVID-19 newsletter (sign up here!).

This crisis has placed how we feed ourselves and our families front and center in all of our minds. This post compiles information from our newsletter to help keep you posted on the resources and information available to you, what we’re doing to help, and opportunities to help your community get through all of this while keeping food on the table.

Friday, 5/29/20

  • Plentiful is an Android-only app recommended to me by the city’s “food czar” Kathryn Garcia, which features a map and advance reservation system for food pantries. It seems like a great way for New York families to get food. iPhone users can text “FOOD” to 726-879 to get information; or just visit the Plentiful website.

Thursday, 5/28/20

  • The City’s COVID-19 Response Maps, searchable by ZIP code, track their response to the pandemic, on health care, food, education, and targeted outreach and support.
  • Tomorrow (5/29) at 12 noon, the NoHo BID and the Greenwich Village Chelsea Chamber of Commerce are hosting “Community Talk: Opening NYC Streets for Social Distanced Dining,” a conversation featuring Speaker Corey Johnson, Council Member Carlina Rivera, and NYC Hospitality Alliance Executive Director Andrew Rigie. Send questions ahead of time to maria@villagechelsea.comregister here, or just join on Zoom.
  • I want to thank Luis Yanes-Bustos, who has been driving the FreshDirect delivery truck in Manhattan since deliveries began months ago and has been fantastic to work with. Today he delivered to Rangel Houses, and from there the 10-lb. food boxes were distributed to Polo Grounds, Douglass I & II and Harlem River I & II Houses, in cooperation with their Tenants’ Associations.

Wednesday, 5/27/20

  • Essex Market, the municipal market on Delancey St., is doing amazing work providing free, fresh groceries to homebound seniors and at-risk families in their neighborhood. The need is immense. Past delivery locations have included Grand Street Settlement’s food pantry (serving 800+ families weekly), the Hong Ning House for the Elderly, Frances Golden Senior Housing, and the Seward Park Extension food pantry supporting NYCHA residents. Learn more about Essex Market’s efforts here.

Tuesday, 5/26/20

  • Lots of people open this newsletter the instant they receive it. If you’re one of those lucky few, please join me momentarily at 6:30 pm, for “Feeding New York During COVID-19”– the next in a series of conversations hosted by Columbia University Neighbors and cosponsored by the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. I will moderate a panel that will include NYC “Food Czar” Kathryn Garcia and former NY Times columnist (and Mailman lecturer!) Mark Bittman. We’ll be talking about access to food, sustaining the supply chain, and policy solutions geared towards feeding all New Yorkers. Visit neighbors.columbia.edu/FeedingNYC to watch at 6:30 pm today (5/26).
  • A new kosher Grab and Go food site opened today (5/26) at PS 75 (735 West End Avenue, entrance on 95th Street), the first on the Upper West Side. Meals can be picked up at all Meal Hubs for children and families from 7:30 am – 11:30 pm, and for adults from 11:30 to 1:30 pm.
  • Additionally, GetFoodNYC’s Emergency Food Program is still seeking new non-profit partners, especially those with expertise in culturally-competent meals, to help reach their goal of delivering 1 million meals per day. Interested potential partners should visit NYC.gov/nonprofits and apply by May 29.

Thursday, 5/21/20

  • The latest edition of Represent NYC will air Sunday (5/24) at 7 pm on Manhattan Neighborhood Networks (Spectrum 34 & 1995, RCN 82, FiOS 33) or MNNHD (Spectrum 1993). I’ll be talking about my office’s work supporting the FreshDirect food deliveries to NYCHA buildings among many other things my office is up to during the pandemic. It’s a quick 15 minutes– take a look Sunday at 7 pm. Here’s a promo.
  • Tuesday (5/26) at 6:30 pm, join me for the next in a series of conversations I’ve been moderating, hosted by Columbia University Neighbors and cosponsored by the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. “Feeding New York During COVID-19” panelists will include New York City “Food Czar” Kathryn Garcia, and former New York Times columnist (and Mailman lecturer!) Mark Bittman talking about access to food, sustaining the supply chain, and policy solutions geared towards feeding all New Yorkers. Register hereSubmit questions in advance here. Visit neighbors.columbia.edu/FeedingNYC to watch at 6:30 pm Tuesday.

Wednesday, 5/20/20

  • Next Tuesday (5/26) at 6:30 pm, join me for the next in a series of conversations I’ve been moderating hosted by Columbia University Neighbors and cosponsored by the Columbia Mailman School of Public Health. “Feeding New York During COVID-19” panelists will include New York City “Food Czar” Kathryn Garcia, and former New York Times columnist (and Mailman lecturer!) Mark Bittman talking about access to food, sustaining the supply chain, and policy solutions geared towards feeding all New Yorkers. Register hereSubmit questions in advance here. Visit neighbors.columbia.edu/FeedingNYC to watch at 6:30 pm Tuesday.
  • wrote Polly Trottenberg, Commissioner of the City’s Dept. of Transportation, asking to revamp the City’s Street Seats program to grant restaurants space on certain sidewalks and streets. This can help preserve local institutions while maintaining social distancing.

Tuesday, 5/19/20

  • On Tuesday (5/26) at 6:30 pm, join me for a conversation with New York City “Food Czar” Kathryn Garcia, Columbia Mailman School of Public Health Lecturer and former New York Times columnist Mark Bittman and others in a virtual town hall on access to food, sustaining the supply chain, and policy solutions geared towards feeding all New Yorkers. Register here.
  • The GetFood Delivery Assistance Program is seeking nonprofit providers for meal preparation with a focus on culturally sensitive meals and ethnic foods, to staff and serve as distribution sites, and to facilitate home meal delivery. Visit nyc.gov/nonprofits for more information on the program or learn more about the role here.

Monday, 5/18/20

  • The City has prepared a map tool to help New Yorkers find their nearest food pantry or community kitchen.
  • I’m grateful to Kathryn Garcia, the City’s “food czar,” who has contracted with FreshDirect to continue delivery of the hundreds of 10-lb boxes of food to NYCHA developments in Manhattan (Fresh Direct had volunteered them for 30 days beginning in April as part of their Five Borough Food Drive).

    Today’s FreshDirect delivery was made to Grant Houses. From there, the boxes were distributed to Manhattanville and St. Nicholas Houses, in cooperation with their Tenants Associations. (My intrepid staffer, Rosalba Rodrieguez, assisted with the delivery as she does every day!)

Friday, 5/15/20

  • On Monday (5/18) at 10:30 am, 2 pm, and 8 pm, the ninth annual NY Sun Works Discovering Sustainability Science Youth Conference will stream, with 4-minute research presentations from 5th-12th grade students from The Manhattan School for Children, Edward R. Murrow High School, PS 199 Jessie Isador Straus, West End Secondary School, St. Saviour High School, and PS 377 Alejandrina B. De Gautier, all addressing environmental problems and solutions related to water, energy, waste, food and health. Stream it live here.
  • Thanks to terrific advocacy by two juniors at the Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria, free menstrual products will be distributed at over 200 DOE Grab and Go meal sites. See the full list here.
  • Another week, another 25,000 lbs of food delivered to families in need at NYCHA developments. I’m grateful to Kathryn Garcia, the City’s “food czar,” who contracted with FreshDirect to continue delivery of the 10-lb boxes of food to NYCHA developments in Manhattan. FreshDirect volunteered their services earlier in April for three weeks as part of their Five Borough Food Drive.

    Today’s delivery was made to Vladeck Houses. From there, the boxes were distributed to Baruch, Riis, Wald, La Guardia, Campos Plaza II, Smith, First, LES I and LES II Houses.

    And here’s a snapshot from Commissioner Garcia on all the food provided to date (5/15) during this crisis:

    • Cumulative meals provided: 22,483,506 total.

    • DOE Grab & Go: Around 500,000 meals served daily, and over 285,000 kosher meals served so far. 32 sites are being prepared to offer halal options.

    • Emergency Food Delivery Program: Around 60,000 seniors served every week, with a distribution of approximately 600,000 meals served daily.

    • Over 500 senior center staff members have been trained to register seniors for food deliveries through the Authorized Enroller Program.

    • NYCHA: Over 920,000 meals have been delivered to 40,000 NYCHA households, and 16 out of 51 NYCHA senior buildings are being served through bulk deliveries.

    There’s also an active distribution process of over 400,000 PPE masks to grocery store workers, as well as food pantry workers and volunteers.

Thursday, 5/14/20

  • I was on PIX11 this morning talking about the need to open sidewalks and (some) streets to restaurants to help reopen local establishments while also maintaining social distancing. Catch the segment here.
  • Tonight (5/14) at 7 pm, join State Senator Liz Krueger and Dr. Charles Platkin, Executive Director of Hunter College’s NYC Food Policy Center, for a virtual town hall on food safety and security. Stream the event live on Facebook.

Wednesday, 5/13/20

  • Tomorrow (5/14) at 7 pm, join State Senator Liz Krueger and Dr. Charles Platkin, Executive Director of Hunter College’s NYC Food Policy Center, for a virtual town hall on food safety and security. Stream the event live on Facebook.
  • I was proud to partner with the City’s “food czar” Kathryn Garcia and FreshDirect to continue delivery of the 10-lb boxes of food to NYCHA developments in Manhattan, on a week-to-week basis, as they were during the Five Borough Food Drive. Today’s delivery was made to Taft Houses. From there, the boxes were distributed to Lehman Village, as well as Clinton, King, Carver, Jefferson, Johnson and Washington.

Tuesday, 5/12/20

  • An update on the GetFoodNYC program. Seniors can now request meal delivery via their local senior centers (find the nearest one by calling 311) or by emailing my office at seniorfood@manhattanbp.nyc.gov. We’re working with LiveOn New York to help enroll seniors directly in the meal delivery program. Seniors are receiving nine meals with each delivery, every three days. It’s worth knowing that the GetFood team is now working with nutritionists to ensure vendors making the meals limit salt, sugar and meet guidelines for proteins, grains, vegetables and fruit (and Kosher and Halal meals are still options). Getting this food delivery program up and running has been a massive project, and kudos to the GetFood team for continuing to work to get it right.
  • I was proud to partner with the City’s “food czar” Kathryn Garcia and FreshDirect to continue delivery of the 10-lb boxes of food to NYCHA developments in Manhattan, on a week-to-week basis, as they were during the Five Borough Food Drive. Today’s delivery was made to Dyckman Houses. From there, the boxes were distributed by Marble Hill, Thurgood Marshall, Bethune Gardens, Samuel City, Drew-Hamilton Houses.

Friday, 5/8/20

  • The Grand St. Settlement Mobile Market is open on the 2nd Monday of each month for residents of the 10002 zip code at 80 Pitt Street from 10 am – 12 pm.

Tuesday, 5/5/20

  • The CUNY Urban Food Policy Institute is seeking citizen researchers to support its COVID-19 Food Availability Survey. The next time you’re shopping for groceries in stores or online, please help their data collection on food availability by filling out this brief formVisit their site for more information.

Monday, 5/4/20

  • GetFoodNYC is dramatically growing in capacity, but with a goal to deliver one million meals a day, the City is looking to partner with nonprofits to help manage distribution sites, prepare and package meals (particularly culturally-sensitive meals). There is a strong need for support in areas including Washington Heights, Melrose, Morris Park, Flushing, and Sunset Park. Download this PDF for more information:

    https://www1.nyc.gov/assets/nonprofits/downloads/pdf/GetFood_RFI.pdf

    You’ll see there’s an informational conference call on Monday, May 11, 2020, at 3 pm, but any questions must be submitted by this Friday (5/8) to NYCFood@dsny.nyc.gov.

  • Girl Scout troops depend on sales of Girl Scout Cookies, but social distancing has made door-to-door sales and cookie booths impossible. You can still support local Girl Scout troops with online cookie purchases.
  • Tomorrow (5/5) from 9:30 – 10:30 am, the Food Policy Center at Hunter College is hosting “Hunger, Food and the COVID-19 in NYC: An Update,” a conversation on the impact of this pandemic to local food systems. Register here.

Friday, 5/1/20

  • If you are able, please avoid grocery shopping in the next few days and make space for our neighbors who rely on SNAP and WIC to buy food. The first of the month is when many public assistance benefits are received; and with kids staying home, food supplies may have depleted more quickly, making grocery shopping at the start of the new month a necessity rather than a preference. Please be mindful of your own shopping and avoid choosing items tagged with WIC labels unless absolutely necessary.
  • I was proud to partner with the City’s “food czar” Kathryn Garcia and FreshDirect to continue delivery of the 10-lb boxes of food to NYCHA developments in Manhattan, on a week-to-week basis, as they were during the Five Borough Food Drive. Today’s delivery was made to Vladeck Houses. From there, the boxes were distributed by Tenants’ Associations to neighboring Riis, Wald, La Guardia, Two Bridges, LES III, LES V, Baruch and Smith Houses buildings.

Thursday, 4/30/20

  • Starting tomorrow (5/1) two new kosher Grab & Go sites will be opening, both in Manhattan: PS 134 Henrietta Szold on the Lower East Side (293 East Broadway) and PS 48 PO Michael J. Buczek in Washington Heights (4360-78 Broadway). See the full list of program sites. All sites also have vegetarian and halal options available.
  • Bloomingdale Aging in Place has shared lists of which Bloomingdale (and nearby Upper West Side) restaurants are delivering, and other essential neighborhood delivery services like laundry and pharmacies.

    And here’s a roundup of other neighborhood lists we’ve shared in prior newsletters:

  • As of yesterday, all participants in the GetFoodNYC program can opt for automatic deliveries for up to 30 days (as opposed to needing to renew every 48 hours) via 311 or the online portal.

    The City continues to expand GetFoodNYC. It’s a tremendous task, the scale of which is completely unprecedented. While some seniors and homebound individuals have had a positive experience, we also continue to advocate for consistent, courteous delivery and for nutritious, dietary-appropriate food to help New Yorkers maintain their health while sheltering at home. If you’re having difficulty accessing the GetFoodNYC program or experienced an unsatisfactory delivery (details and photos are helpful!), please let us know at info@manhattanbp.nyc.gov.

  • The Manhattan Solid Waste Advisory Board has developed a guide titled “What to Do with Food Waste, Electronics, and Clothing During the Pandemic,” which explains how New Yorkers can continue to live a “zero waste” lifestyle during the pandemic.
  • Met Council’s community services are still operating during the pandemic: they have a confidential hotline for victims of domestic violence at (212) 453-9618, as well as a helpline for seniors needing free assistance with SNAP enrollment, emergency home repairs, or tax filings, accessible at (929) 292-9261.

Wednesday, 4/29/20

  • I was proud to partner with the City’s “food czar” Kathryn Garcia and FreshDirect to continue delivery of the 10-lb boxes of food to NYCHA developments in Manhattan, on a week-to-week basis, as they were during the Five Borough Food Drive. Today’s delivery was made to Taft Houses. From there, the boxes were distributed by Tenants’ Associations to neighboring buildings in King Towers, Lehman Village, 131 St. Nicholas Avenue, and Clinton, Carver, Washington, East River and Wilson Houses.

Tuesday, 4/28/20

Monday, 4/27/20

  • To support those in need, a “grab and go” meal service program is running Tuesday-Saturday, from 11 am – 3 pm, at Salem United Methodist Church (SUMC) on West 129th Street and Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard, organized in partnership with Assemblymember Inez Dickens, the Greater Harlem Chamber of Commerce, and ReThink Food NYC. The program, which has hired unemployed food service personnel from closed Harlem restaurants, will run until June 7th, and longer if needed.
  • I was proud to partner with the City’s “food czar” Kathryn Garcia and FreshDirect to continue delivery of the 10-lb boxes of food to NYCHA developments in Manhattan, on a week-to-week basis, as they were during the Five Borough Food Drive. Monday’s delivery was made to Grant Houses on Amsterdam Avenue. From there, the boxes were distributed by Tenants’ Associations to neighboring Manhattanville, St. Nicholas, Douglass and Taft Rehabs, and Seward Park buildings.

Friday, 4/24/20

  • Good news for NYCHA residents. In the early days of the pandemic shutdown, FreshDirect offered to deliver hundreds of 10-lb food boxes each weekday to residents in each of the five boroughs. My staff and I arranged with tenants’ associations at Manhattan NYCHA developments to distribute that food, at a rotating list of sites, to families in need.

    That 30-day project ended last week, but I reached out to Kathryn Garcia, the NYC food “czar,” and her team has now contracted with FreshDirect to continue those deliveries starting this Monday (4/27). I’m deeply appreciative Commissioner Garcia and her staff were able to continue the deliveries on a week-by-week basis.

Wednesday, 4/22/20

  • The City continues to expand the GetFoodNYC home delivery food program and will be transitioning the senior meal program to operate under its umbrella. During this transition, seniors in need of food assistance (who are not receiving deliveries from other food services) are still directed to register for GetFoodNYC via 311 or the online portal. We continue to push for automatic renewals for homebound New Yorkers participating in the GetFoodNYC program– instead of having to submit a new request every other day before 11 am. If you don’t have enough food on Monday, you almost definitely will need food on Wednesday… and Friday too.
  • The Mayor announced today, April 22, that all NYCHA senior buildings will be enrolled in the food delivery program over the coming weeks. If you are having difficulty accessing the GetFoodNYC program or received an unsatisfactory delivery, please let us know at info@manhattanbp.nyc.gov with “Senior NYCHA food” in the subject line.

Tuesday, 4/21/20

Monday, 4/20/20

  • Legal Services NYC has opened a hotline to help New Yorkers apply for public benefits like SNAP and Medicaid, as well as manage rent and utilities arrears. Call (917) 661-4500 for a free, confidential assessment.
  • NMIC Legal Services has established temporary COVID-19 intake hotlines for all New Yorkers — but prioritizing residents in Upper Manhattan and Southwest Bronx — to receive assistance on a variety of issues:

    • Accessing benefits: (919) 512-4469, Monday/Wednesday/Friday from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm

    • Unemployment: (929) 512-4476, Tuesday/Thursday from 9:00 am to 12:00 pm

    • Housing: (929) 512-4565, Wednesdays from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm.

    • Immigration: (929) 512-4496, Mondays from 9:00 am – 12:00 pm.

Friday, 4/17/20

  • Today’s delivery of FreshDirect Five Borough Food Drive went to Vladeck Houses. I’m deeply appreciative to Fresh Direct’s leaders, employees, and contributing partners (including Boar’s Head and Poland Spring)– as well as the resident associations at each NYCHA development– for making it a resounding success.
  • I was thrilled to coordinate an arrangement, alongside Councilmember Diana Ayala and Union Settlement, to get twenty struggling East Harlem restaurants to deliver two meals a day to to the hundreds of workers at Metropolitan Hospital in East Harlem. I want to thank L+M Development, Jonathan Rose Companies and the Acacia Network for their donations totalling $115,000 to cover the costs of this project; thanks to their generosity, we can lend a helping hand to both struggling restaurants and the health care heroes on the front lines of this crisis.

Thursday, 4/16/20

  • Today’s FreshDirect Five Borough Food Drive delivery came to Rangel Houses and Metro North Plaza. It’s great that FreshDirect and their partners, BoarsHead and Poland Spring, have stepped up to provide hundreds of 10-lb boxes of food to families in need who live in NYCHA developments in Manhattan. Fresh Direct is delivering food citywide, at the direction of other Borough Presidents. They are heroes.

Wednesday, 4/15/20

  • The people at FreshDirect are winding up their Five Borough Food Drive this week, and the last delivery will be made this Friday. Each day, they have delivered hundreds of 10-lb food cartons where we asked them to: a rotating set of NYCHA developments in Manhattan. They have fulfilled their original commitment, and then some. Now, I need new help. Are there any food providers you know– supermarket chains or wholesalers or whomever– who might be able to step up and fulfill this need for another month?  We need a single drop off each day of about 500 boxes of shelf-stable food, and we will handle distribution to NYCHA families in need (in cooperation with each building’s Tenants’ Association).

    Please email info@manhattanbp.nyc.gov with “Daily Food” in the subject line; we will chase down all leads!

  • Today’s FreshDirect Five Borough Food Drive delivery came to Taft Houses. It’s great that FreshDirect and their partners, BoarsHead and Poland Spring, have stepped up to provide hundreds of 10-lb boxes of food to families in need who live in NYCHA developments in Manhattan. Fresh Direct is delivering food citywide, at the direction of other Borough Presidents. They are heroes.

Tuesday, 4/14/20

  • Today’s FreshDirect Five Borough Food Drive delivery came to Dyckman Houses and the Fort Washington Consolidation. It’s great that FreshDirect and their partners, BoarsHead and Poland Spring, have stepped up to provide hundreds of 10-lb boxes of food to families in need who live in NYCHA developments in Manhattan. Fresh Direct is delivering food citywide, at the direction of other Borough Presidents. They are heroes.

Monday, 4/13/20

  • As of Monday, April 13, the City will start transitioning home delivered senior meals into the GetFoodNYC program.

    Over the next two weeks of transition, the GetFoodNYC team will be working with DFTA, senior centers, nonprofits, elected officials and advocates to “on-board” the seniors who have already registered. They’re also working on outstanding issues including building access, languages, and dietary restrictions.

    So from now on if you’re a senior who needs a food delivery, dial 311 to register for the GetFoodNYC program. Currently all program participants must renew every other day, before 11 am, but they’re working to automatically renew seniors.

    Please email me at info@manhattanbp.nyc.gov with “senior food” in the subject line if you are having trouble receiving these meals, and I will try to help.

  • As many struggle with sourcing food deliveries and long backlogs on many websites, EaterNY has released A Guide to Restaurant Wholesalers Now Selling Groceries to the Public. While costs are usually higher for these high-end groceries, this may prove to be a solution for many Manhattan families.
  • A heartfelt thanks to CityMeals on Wheels and LiveOn New York for their speedy assistance in working with our office to connect hundreds of seniors with emergency food packages over these past several weeks and as recently as Friday, April 10. This is in addition to the 4000+ kosher packages they delivered so seniors could safely observe Passover. Please visit www.citymeals.org to support their work to address the growing need in food insecurity; volunteers can reach out to vivienne@citymeals.org and sheila@citymeals.org to help deliver meals throughout the city.
  • Emergency food organizations, from City Harvest to your neighborhood food pantry, are in serious need right now. Millions of New Yorkers rely on them to survive, but 1/3 of the city’s pantries have already closed during this crisis. Fundraising campaigns have ramped up and restaurants have donated millions of pounds of food, but there just aren’t enough volunteers to keep their doors open. In It Together NYC is a city-wide volunteer initiative that connects healthy, eligible New Yorkers to food pantries at risk of closing. They’ve signed up over 600 volunteers and sent them to the emergency food organizations that need them most.
  • The CLOTH Food Pantry at 508 W. 159th St. has doubled its distribution hours. Now 9 am–1 pm on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays. Packaged food is available on a first-come, first-served basis. Additional volunteers are needed to unload the food trucks, pack and distribute bags: email pantry@cloth159.org to lend a hand.
  • Today’s FreshDirect Five Borough Food Drive delivery was made at Grant Houses. It’s great that FreshDirect and their partners, BoarsHead and Poland Spring, have stepped up to provide hundreds of 10-lb boxes of food to families in need who live in NYCHA developments in Manhattan. Fresh Direct is delivering food citywide, at the direction of other Borough Presidents. They are heroes.

Friday, 4/10/20

  • Just in time for the weekend, Uptown Grand Central has released a Harlem Small Business Guide in partnership with Buy Local East Harlem and other small business groups, to help keep Harlemites updated on restaurants open for take-out and delivery, online classes and web workouts, food markets and essential businesses near them.
  • I was delighted to greet today’s FreshDirect Five Borough Food Drive delivery at Vladeck Houses with these great volunteers– all wearing masks! It’s great that FreshDirect and their partners, BoarsHead and Poland Spring, have stepped up to provide hundreds of 10-lb boxes of food to families in need who live in NYCHA developments in Manhattan. FreshDirect is delivering food citywide, at the direction of other Borough Presidents. They are heroes.

Thursday, 4/09/20

  • My staff has been working to ensure Manhattan’s senior centers are actually getting the food they need. When a member of JASA Club 76 came close to not having the necessary items for their Seder, he got a large box of Passover staples from the Dept. for the Aging at his door just in the nick of time yesterday afternoon.
  • Today’s FreshDirect Five Borough Food Drive delivery was made at Rangel Houses. It’s great that FreshDirect and their partners, BoarsHead and Poland Spring, have stepped up to provide hundreds of 10-lb boxes of food to families in need who live in NYCHA developments in Manhattan. Fresh Direct is delivering food citywide, at the direction of other Borough Presidents. They are heroes.

Wednesday, 4/08/20

  • New York Common Pantry — one of the city’s largest food pantries and soup kitchens — welcomes new clients for intake at their 8 E. 109th St. site from 10 am – 4 pm, Monday – Saturday. Food distribution hours are between 10 am – 2 pm, Wednesday – Saturday. Hot lunches are provided from 2:30 – 3:30 pm, Monday – Friday. “Brown Bag” distribution is 4 – 5 pm on weekends. They’ve also added a seniors-only (age 60+) food distribution on Mondays from 10 am – 2 pm. Email NYCPServices@nycommonpantry.org or call 917.720.9700 for help.
  • Wednesday’s FreshDirect Five Borough Food Drive came to Taft Houses and King Towers. I’m so grateful that FreshDirect and their partners, BoarsHead and Poland Spring, are dropping off these 10-lb boxes of food to a different NYCHA location each weekday. It’s great that these companies have stepped up to provide food to families in need.

Tuesday, 4/07/20

  • The City’s Dept. for the Aging (DFTA) has to do a better job of managing the senior food program. It’s Week Three of the transition from group meals within senior centers to the free home-delivered meal model (with an intermediate stop at “Grab and Go”), and still too many Manhattan senior centers have no list of who DFTA is sending meals to despite weeks of center staff submitting names and information. (And that’s just in Manhattan!) The contrast between what is said in televised briefings or by the agency and the reality on the ground is too great to ignore any longer.

    To be clear, if you are a senior who needs a food delivery, you are instructed to call your local senior center, or Aging Connect (212)244-6469, or 311 to sign up for this program. But the staff at many centers we talk to are finding that both regular clients and those newly-added are not receiving the food.

    This lack of communication and confirmation compounds the anxiety already felt by many older adults. And it makes a difficult situation all that much harder on the senior center staff who are working hard to assist their clients. Please email me at info@manhattanbp.nyc.gov if you are having difficulty requesting or receiving these meals, and I will try to help.

  • Meanwhile, Neighborhood Opportunity Network (NeON) Nutrition Kitchens of the Department of Probation, in partnership with the Food Bank of NYC and the NYC Young Men’s Initiative, have expanded hours and opened a new Harlem location at 302 W. 124th Street. New Yorkers in need will be provided with one week of free, pre-packaged groceries.
  • The Hunter College Food Policy Center has produced 59 Coronavirus NYC Neighborhood Food Resource Guides with key information on food access for each community, such as meals for students and seniors during this time, delivery services for people with disabilities, and resources for immigrants.

    Each year, Hunger Free America produces updated Neighborhood Guides to Food & Assistance for all five boroughs, with information on how and where to access SNAP, WIC, and other resources. The Manhattan guide is available in both English and Spanish, and a Lower Manhattan Guide is available in Mandarin.

  • This Tuesday’s drop-off of the FreshDirect Five Borough Food Drive was at Dyckman, Marble Hill, and Drew-Hamilton Houses. I’m so grateful that FreshDirect and their partners, BoarsHead and Poland Spring, are dropping off these 10-lb boxes of food to a different NYCHA location each weekday. It’s great that these companies have stepped up to provide food to families in need.

Monday, 4/06/20

Friday, 4/03/20

Thursday, 4/02/20

  • The City launched the Help Now Portal this week to connect New Yorkers who need help to resources on employment, benefits, seniors, food security, NYCHA residents, mental health, and education– and to also give those who want to GIVE help a way to do so.
  • Thursday’s FreshDirect Five Borough Food Drive dropoff was at Rangel Houses, Polo Houses, and Harlem River I & II. (Each weekday FreshDirect and their partners, BoarsHead and Poland Spring, are dropping off 10-lb boxes of food at NYCHA locations which my office helps coordinate with NYCHA tenants’ associations.) It’s great that these companies have stepped up to provide food to families in need.

Wednesday, 4/01/20

  • If you are able, please avoid grocery shopping in the next few days and make space for our neighbors who are on SNAP and WIC to buy food. The beginning of the month is when many public assistance benefits come in; with children staying home, families’ food supplies may have depleted more quickly, making grocery shopping at the start of the new month a necessity rather than a preference. Please also be mindful of your own shopping and avoid choosing items tagged with WIC labels unless absolutely necessary.
  • The ASPCA has established a pet food distribution center in New York City in partnership with the Petco Foundation, Blue Buffalo, and PetSmart Charities to provide dog and cat owners free access to crucial food and supplies, including kitty litter.  To keep in line with social distancing guidelines, food and supplies will be available by appointment only. Pet owners should call the ASPCA Pet Food Distribution Helpline at (800)738-9437 to request an appointment. This includes dog and cat supplies only, and distribution is subject to eligibility and availability. Open to residents of New York City; no same-day appointments; one-hour window for pick-up, don’t come early and call if you’re running late; bring a photo ID and be prepared to carry supplies! (DON’T bring pets!)
  • Wednesday’s FreshDirect Five Borough Food Drive dropoff was at Taft Houses. (Each weekday FreshDirect and their partners, BoarsHead and Poland Spring, are dropping off 10-lb boxes of food at NYCHA locations which my office helps coordinate with NYCHA tenants’ associations.) It’s great that these companies have stepped up to provide food to families in need.

Tuesday, 3/31/20

  • If you’re unable to go out and get food for yourself, AND you do not have someone else in your household who can get food for you, AND do not have a family member, friend, or neighbor who lives nearby who can get food for you, AND do not receive food from Meals on Wheels, God’s Love We Deliver or a similar service, AND are not able to afford food delivery from a restaurant or grocery…  the GetFoodNYC food delivery program has been set up by the City for those in your situation.  Here’s the fine print:
    -There is a maximum number of three boxes per household, per delivery…
    -The amount of food delivered is based on the number of people in your household who need food from this service…
    -Each person who needs food will be given one box, which is designed to last two days.
    -Orders placed after 5 pm will not be delivered the next day, but will be delivered the day after…
    GetFoodNYC will collect information about any dietary restrictions but cannot guarantee those requests can be met. Sign up by calling 311 or online at    https://cv19engagementportal.cityofnewyork.us/#/display/5e7555117ad6750216160409
  • Monday’s FreshDirect Five Borough Food Drive drop-off was at Dyckman Houses and this week we were able to deliver to residents in four buildings instead of three. The Children’s Art & Science Workshops and Hanan Ali-Bilali in particular helped the residents unload the boxes. (Each weekday FreshDirect and their partners, BoarsHead and Poland Spring, are dropping off 10-lb boxes of food at NYCHA locations which my office helps coordinate with their tenants’ associations.) It’s great that these companies have stepped up to provide food to families in need.

Monday, 3/30/20

  • The City has created the GetFoodNYC food delivery program to provide food for coronavirus-vulnerable and food-insecure New Yorkers not currently served through existing food delivery programs. Sign up at the link above or call 311.. UPDATE (3/30/20 at 2pm) from nyc.gov: The (GetFoodNYC) program is temporarily unable to process additional food deliveries. Please check back Tuesday, March 31st when we expect to be able to restore service.
  • GrowNYC’s 50 open-air Greenmarkets are open for business and observing social distancing and other best practices during the outbreak. The Greenmarkets are crucial to the 250 regional farmers and producers who sell through them; 85% of these farms report that they wouldn’t be in business if not for the ability to sell directly to New York City shoppers. Visit the link for locations and hours of operation.
  • In addition, the FPC has also created a series of Coronavirus NYC Neighborhood Food Resource Guides. Each of the 59 editions includes listings of food pantries, soup kitchens, farmers’ markets, grocery stores, meal distribution sites for children and seniors, and resources for immigrants and undocumented individuals.
  • Monday’s FreshDirect Five Borough Food Drive dropoff was at Grant Houses on 123rd St. Each weekday FreshDirect (and their partners BoarsHead and Poland Spring) are dopping off 10-lb boxes of food at NYCHA locations that my office helps coordinate with local tenants’ associations. It’s great that these companies have stepped up to provide food to families in need.

Friday, 3/27/20

  • Friday’s FreshDirect Five Borough Food Drive dropoff was at Baruch Houses downtown. Each weekday FreshDirect (and their partners BoarsHead and Poland Spring) are dopping off 10-lb boxes of food at NYCHA locations that my office helps coordinate with local tenants’ associations. FreshDirect is delivering to The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, too. It’s great that these companies have stepped up to provide food to families in need.

Thursday. 3/26/20

  • Today’s FreshDirect Five Borough Food Drive dropoff was at Rangel Houses on Harlem River Drive. As a reminder, each weekday FreshDirect and their partners BoarsHead and Poland Spring are dopping off 10-lb boxes of food at NYCHA locations that my office helps coordinate with local tenants’ associations. They’re delivering to The Bronx, Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island, too. It’s great that these companies have stepped up to provide food to families in need.

Wednesday, 3/25/20

  • There are ways you can help keep City Harvest trucks on the road delivering essential food:  Donate (now through April 17, their board is matching every dollar donated with two dollars of their own, tripling the impact of any donation). Volunteercheck their Volunteer Portal for upcoming opportunities. Follow them on InstagramFacebook, and Twitter, and share their posts tagging City Harvest and #WeAreCityHarvest.

Tuesday, 3/24/20

  • Today, I started helping distribute 4,000 pounds of free food each weekday, courtesy of online grocer Fresh Direct, as part of  their “Operation Five-Borough Food Drive”. My office is coordinating distribution of the 10 lb boxes, contributed and delivered by the online grocery Fresh Direct, at a rolling list of different NYCHA developments in Manhattan. Today, we distributed cartons to 400 residents in need at Dyckman Houses in Inwood, in cooperation with each development’s tenant association. Present at today’s launch was David McInerney, CEO of Fresh Direct, Dyckman Houses Tenant Association President Nathaniel Greene, Lillian Al-Bilali from Children’s Arts and Science Workshops (which runs the Cornerstone program there), and Community Board 12 Chair Eleazar Bueno– along with Aldrin Bonilla, Deputy Borough President and staffer Rosalba Rodriguez. For more information on “The Five Borough Food Drive” visit www.freshdirect.com/fooddrive.
  • The City has created the GetFoodNYC food delivery program to provide food for coronavirus (COVID-19)-vulnerable and food-insecure New Yorkers not currently served through existing food delivery programs. Sign up here or call 311.
  • I mentioned yesterday that the city’s Dept. for the Aging (DFTA) is phasing in a direct meal delivery system that will gradually replace the current Grab and Go model of food distribution at senior centers. The first phase will began today, March 24, and kosher meal delivery will start tomorrow, Wednesday March 25. Grab and Go meals will continue at many centers and even overlap as the new system is implemented.My office will continue to track and share the changes. DFTA recommends contacting the centers directly before going to the center to confirm timing and availability of Grab and Go meals. In New York City, senior services are considered essential and some centers may need assistance from volunteers in providing these critical meals to clients. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact my office at info@manhattanbp.nyc.gov.
  • Foodbank for New York City needs able and healthy volunteers to help prepare meals, pack food and other essentials.

Monday, 3/23/20

  • Here’s an interactive map for finding soup kitchens, food pantries, senior centers, or SNAP enrollment sites. https://www.foodbanknyc.org/get-help/
  • The city’s Dept. for the Aging (DFTA) is phasing in a direct meal delivery system that will gradually replace the current Grab and Go model of food distribution at senior centers. The first phase will begin this Wednesday, March 25. Grab and Go meals will continue at many centers and even overlap as the new system is implemented. My office will continue to track and share the changes. DFTA recommends contacting the centers directly before going to the center to confirm timing and availability. In New York City, senior services are considered essential and some centers may need assistance from volunteers in providing these critical meals to clients. If you’re interested, please contact my office at info@manhattanbp.nyc.gov
  • Invisiblehandsdeliver.com is deputizing low-risk people to deliver shopping or goods to high-risk people. Visit thier website to volunteer, or request a delivery.
  • Serious eats: Food Safety and Coronavirus: A Comprehensive Guide. (Serious Eats)

Friday, 3/20/20

  • Our daily Senior Center Grab and Go Meals list has been posted on my website.
  • FreshDirect, in partnership with the five NYC Borough Presidents, is launching a daily delivery of 400 food boxes per day — with about ten pounds of staples, fresh produce, and canned goods– to each of the five boroughs. My office is coordinating dropoffs to a different NYCHA complex each day, in concert with the local tenant leaders, for distribution to households in need. Locations will include Dyckman, Taft, King, Johnson, Clinton, Carver, Lehman, Baruch, Baruch Addition, Vladeck, Riis, Wald, Smith, Grant, Rangel, Polo Grounds and nearby developments. Residents there should contact their tenant association leaders for pick up times and days.
  • ALSO beginning Monday, the DOE’s Office of Food and Nutrition Service will continue to provide free breakfast and lunch for everyone 18 years and younger, BUT the pickup locations will shift from every public school to a slightly more limited “hub” system.A child can pick up meals for themselves as well as other children in the household; an adult can pick up meals for children in their household without the children needing to be present. Distribution of one breakfast and upto two lunches are available Monday-Friday from 7:30 am – 1:30 pm. There will be alternative items for children with nut and milk allergies; vegetarian and halal options will also be available. Families with disabled students with mobility limitations will have meals delivered through a special arrangement made between DOE and Door Dash.

Thursday, 3/19/20

  • Food Bank for New York City has established a COVID-19 webpage which outlines their efforts to stay open and solicits community support.  Notably, their Harlem Community Kitchen and Food Pantry remains open at 252 W. 116th St. in Harlem.
  • This morning I learned that a 180-resident low-income senior building in Hamilton Heights needed on-site meal delivery– and fast! Reportedly an adult day care center that many of the residents relied on had closed up without providing grab-and-go meals.  Within hours, LiveOn and Citymeals coordinated a multi-meal drop off directly to the building lobby. So  a big THANK YOU to the staff at LiveOn New York and Citymeals on Wheels!
  • Today’s Manhattan senior center meal distribution update is posted on my website here.
    Many new centers have been added and changes made to other times and locations.

Wednesday, 3/18/20

  • I spoke to the CEO of Fresh Direct, and at the behest of my fellow Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., they will deliver 8 pallets of food boxes to each borough — filled with staples — starting next Tuesday and every day thereafter. (They are already working with the Common Pantry on W. 116 St; when their regular suppliers dried up, Fresh Direct stepped in.  We will keep you posted one we know the Manhattan drop-off location (and who knows how it will be handled under a “shelter in place” order, but we’ll figure it out!).
  • That said, many supermarkets are opening early or prioritizing their regular first hour of opening for senior citizens and the most at-risk. Morton Williams notified us yesterday they will be blocking off 7 – 8 am for this purpose. Because it’s the first business hours of the day, the shelves are likelier to be stocked. If you know of other supermarkets doing this, please let us know!  (RECAP: Yesterday we mentioned our supermarket guide can give you contact info and discounts available to seniors: https://www.manhattanbp.nyc.gov/supermarketmaps/ )

Tuesday, 3/17/20

  • Yesterday I mentioned that school age children can pick up a free breakfast or lunch between 7:30 am and 1:30 pm this week. To be clear, that means ANY child 18 and under can go to the nearest public school and pick up a meal, not just public school students.

Monday, 3/16/20

  • As you must know by now, public schools are closed until April 20. As of today, students may go to the NEAREST school — which is not neccesarily their own school —  to pick up a grab-n-go breakfast and/or lunch between 7:30 am and 1:00 pm for at least this week.The Food Education Fund  has established a website to gather all food-related information in one place, which will be continuously updated: Food Hub NYC

Categories: COVID-19