Mayor Bill de Blasio and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy Kate MacKenzie announced today that GetFoodNYC, the City’s emergency food program established to combat hunger related to the COVID-19 pandemic, has now distributed over 200 million free meals to New Yorkers in need. This massive number comes as economic fallout from the pandemic continues to heighten the existing need for food support across the city. Any New Yorker in need of food can visit nyc.gov/getfood or call 311 to find a program that works for them.
“Last March, we were facing unprecedented levels of food insecurity in the five boroughs,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We acted quickly to stand up an enormous interagency effort to get food to the people who need it. This milestone is proof of our efforts to ensure no New Yorker goes hungry.”
As part of Mayor de Blasio’s FeedingNYC pandemic response plan, the City created a number of programs, most visibly free Grab & Go meals at hundreds of Department of Education sites across the city, provided without the need for sign-up or identification, and Emergency Home Food Delivery for people who, due to a combination of health and economic factors, cannot go out, have no one to go out for them, and cannot afford private delivery options. These programs, which continue operating today, distributed the bulk of the 200 million meals.
The plan also funded creation of a massive Pandemic Food Reserve Emergency Distribution, which is well on its way to providing pantries and community-based organizations with approximately 18 million pounds of produce and shelf-stable goods.
“Food insecurity was, is, and remains one of the great challenges of our time, and the pandemic has only exacerbated the level of need in every neighborhood of the city,” said Kate MacKenzie, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Food Policy, which oversees the day-to-day operation of the GetFoodNYC programs. “These programs have kept our neighbors from going hungry. As we move closer to the release of the City’s first-ever ‘Ten Year Food Plan,’ I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for his continued commitment to feeding those in need.”
“The Department of Sanitation doesn’t just pick up trash – we move mountains to keep New Yorkers safe, any way we can, whenever we are called upon. We did it after 9/11, we did it after Hurricane Sandy, and a year ago, we embarked on a new task to get food to people in need during the greatest crisis our city has faced in a generation,” said Edward Grayson, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Sanitation. “I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for his commitment to feeding New Yorkers, and give my deepest gratitude to every one of the hundreds of DSNY employees who helped that commitment become reality.”
“Each meal served represents a young person or member of our community who did not have to go hungry during this crisis,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza. “This could not have been accomplished without the heroic work of our food service employees who opened meal hubs on day one, expanded service to all New Yorkers, and reported to work every day to fight hunger in our communities.”
"Providing food for New Yorkers who need it has been a top priority for the City Council since the early days of the pandemic. We are proud to have fought for the funding that has enabled the city to deliver so many meals to so many of our most vulnerable neighbors. We will continue fighting against food insecurity throughout the pandemic and into our city's recovery, " said Speaker Corey Johnson.