Mayor de Blasio today updated New Yorkers on the City’s emergency food efforts during the COVID-19 crisis. By next week, the Emergency Food Delivery program will be delivering over 1 million meals per day. This is in addition to the City’s school grab-and-go program, which serves over 500,000 meals per day at over 500 schools across the City. The City’s efforts have now passed 32 million total meals served across all City programs since COVID-19 crisis began.
“We are laser focused on ensuring no New Yorker goes hungry,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We have built a massive operation in just a few weeks and have already provided over 32 million meals since this crisis began, and this is just the beginning. If any New Yorker needs food, we are here for you.”
“This is an enormous operation set up to meet a need the scale of which is hard to imagine, and I am tremendously proud of our team across City agencies. We have very high standards here – this is emergency food, but it must be healthy, nutritious food. We are working with farmers, caterers, restaurants, and non-profits to do what we can to get it right every time,” said Kathryn Garcia, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Sanitation and the City’s COVID-19 Food Czar.
The City has monitored the food delivery system closely and continues to learn quickly and make adjustments as needed. The City is currently working with approximately 30 food providers, and is actively hiring and expanding non-profit and for-profit providers to increase capacity, variety and cultural-competence. While this is emergency food to ensure no New Yorker goes hungry, the City also ensures meals meet nutrition requirements. For the senior meals program, for example, meals have sodium limits and required servings of protein, fruits and vegetables, and whole grains. Due to scale, some vendors are providing shelf-stable boxes, while others are providing fresh food or frozen food as well. If food quality does not meet the program’s standards, the City addresses it directly with the food providers, and has ended contracts with providers who were not living up to their commitment. Read more about the plan to feed New Yorkers in need at here and access food resources here. New Yorkers who encounter issues can get help here or via 311.
“We continue our commitment to making sure no New Yorker goes hungry during this pandemic. This is an all-hands-on-deck approach, and I am grateful to the multiple City agencies, public and private partners, and CERT volunteers who are all dedicated to providing nutritious food to anyone in need,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell.
“Feeding New York has been enormously successful and Emergency Food Delivery has been a lifeline for millions of New Yorkers,” said TLC Commissioner and Chair Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk, “including our licensed professional drivers, who are performing their duties as essential workers and earning some income in the process.”
“We are proud to be a part of this effort to provide food security for millions of New Yorkers. We have 95 Parks employees working at our Food Distribution Sites throughout the city who have served over 14 million meals,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver. “Each meal provided reflects our commitment to preserving the health and well-being of the public we serve.”
“Our food service employees are unsung heroes and Meal Hubs in every neighborhood across this city are providing a vital service for not only our students, but entire communities. We’ll continue to keep our doors open for as long as it is needed, and we’re proud to help New Yorkers combat hunger every day,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza.
“When DFTA began the direct meal delivery program for older adults in March, we knew that many older New Yorkers, who prior to the pandemic had been independent, would find themselves food insecure and that demand for meals would greatly increase,” said Department for the Aging Commissioner Lorraine Cortés-Vázquez. “The Food Czar’s team has expanded the direct meal delivery program and continues to serve many more older New Yorkers, more than the 44,000 served by DFTA.”