SAVING HUNGRY NEW YORKERS

April 06, 2018 at 4:45 am

Nearly 1.3 million New Yorkers struggle to afford food for themselves and their families every day. Meet the organization that has helped feed them for over 35 years.

Click here for more information on how you can help.

Click here to learn about City Harvest’s #SkipLunchFightHunger campaign.

Aired on April 5, 2018. 

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>>> 35 YEARS AGO THE NONPROFIT
ORGANIZATION CITY HARVEST WAS
FOUNDED BY A GROUP OF PEOPLE WHO
RECOGNIZED TWO MAJOR PROBLEMS
FACING OUR CITY, HUNGER AND FOOD
WASTE.
THESE PIONEERS TOOK A FOOD VAN
TO RESTAURANTS ALL OVER
MANHATTAN TO RESCUE FOOD BY
DELIVERING IT TO SOUP KITCHENS.
TODAY THEY'RE HELPING MORE THAN
1.3 MILLION NEW YORKERS.
WE'RE SHINING A LIGHT ON THE
GOOD WORK OF CITY HARVEST.
HERE WITH THE LATEST INFORMATION
ON WHAT THE ORGANIZATION IS UP
TO IS CITY HARVEST CEO JILLIE
STEVENS.
JILLIE, WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.
>> THANK YOU FOR SLHAVING ME.
>> WITH SO MUCH EMPHASIS ON THE
CITY HARVEST PROGRAM, TELL US
WHAT YOU DO.
>> CITY HARVEST IS ON THE ROAD
SEVEN DAYS A WEEK, RESCUING
GREAT FOOD FROM RESTAURANTS,
WHOLESALERS ACROSS THE REGION
AND GETTING THAT GREAT FOOD TO
HUNGRY NEW YORKERS.
WE'RE SERVING CLOSE TO 1.3
MILLION NEW YORKERS.
MANY OF THEM ARE GOING TO BE
HOMELESS.
MANY MORE HAVE HOMES, HAVE JOBS,
JUST IN ONE OF THE MOST
EXPENSIVE CITIES IN THE COUNTRY,
IF NOT THE MOST EXPENSIVE.
IT'S NOT ALWAYS EASY TO GET BY,
PAY RENT, UTILITY COSTS AND
STILL HAVE MONEY TO PUT FOOD ON
THE TABLE.
>> NEW YORK ALSO SEES KIDS WHO
HAVE A HARD TIME GETTING FREE
LUNCHES AT SCHOOLS AS WELL.
>> RECENTLY THERE WAS A MOVE TO
MAKE UNIVERSAL BREAKFAST AND
LUNCH FREE FOR NEW YORK CITY
PUBLIC SCHOOL CHILDREN, WHICH
WAS A GREAT ADVANCE FOR THE
CITY.
CLOSE TO ONE IN FIVE CHILDREN IN
NEW YORK CITY DON'T KNOW WHERE
THEIR NEXT MEAL IS GOING TO COME
FROM.
SO THAT SCHOOL MEAL IS
ESPECIALLY CRITICAL FOR THEM.
CITY HARVEST WORKS HARD TO MAKE
SURE THAT AGENCIES LIKE SOUP
KITCHENS AND FOOD PANTRIES HAVE
WHAT THEY NEED THEN TO SUPPORT
THESE FAMILIES DURING THOSE LONG
SUMMER WEEKS WHEN SCHOOL'S OUT
AND FAMILIES NEED EXTRA FOOD TO
HELP KEEP THEIR CHILDREN GOING.
SO A LOT NEEDS TO BE DONE AND
THERE HAVE BEEN SOME GOOD
ADVANCES.
>> WITH SO MUCH TALK ABOUT HOW
PEOPLE NEED TO LESSEN THEY WERE
FOOTPRINT AND USE LESS.
IS THAT SOMETHING THAT PERHAPS
THE RESTAURANTS, I DO UNDERSTAND
THAT WOULD IMPACT A GROUP LIKE
CITY HARVEST, BUT IF THE
RESTAURANTS JUST USED LESS FOOD,
THEN THEY WOULDN'T HAVE ALL THIS
EXCESS WASTE.
>> IT'S A REALLY INTERESTING
QUESTION, BECAUSE CITY HARVEST
WAS FOUNDED 35 YEARS AGO.
WE WERE FOUNDED BY VOLUNTEER WHO
WENT TO RESTAURANTS TO PICK UP
THAT EXTRA FOOD TO DELIVER IT TO
SOUP KITCHENS AND FOOD PANTRIES
THROUGHOUT THE CITY.
OF THE FOOD THAT WE COLLECT,
VERY LITTLE OF IT WILL COME FROM
RESTAURANTS.
RESTAURANTS DO A VERY GOOD JOB,
THEY DON'T HAVE MUCH LEFT OVER
FOOD.
WE'RE BRINGING IN ATRACTOR
TRAILER LOADS, A LOT OF EMPHASIS
ON FRUITS AND VEGETABLES.
A LOT OF THE FOOD THAT WE RESCUE
IS FRESH FRUIT AND VEGETABLES.
SO THAT'S COMING UP IN LARGE
QUANTITIES.
IMAGINE A FARMER UPSTATE WHO'S
GROWN A FIELD OF RADISHES AND
THEY'RE JUST A LITTLE BIT TOO
BIG.
CITY HARVEST CAN GET THOSE
RADISHES.
NOW WE CAN GET THAT FOOD AND GET
IT OUT TO THE FAMILIES WHO NEED
IT.
THE FARMERS ARE NOT LOSING THEIR
INVESTMENT IN THE CROP, AND SO A
LOT OF OUR FOOD IS COMING THAT
WAY NOW, BIG, BIG TRUCKS AND
LARGE SCALE.
>> IT SOUNDS LIKE IT'S GROWN
INTO ITS OWN ECONOMY AT THIS
POINT.
>> IT REALLY HAS.
AND WE'RE NOT GROWING FOR THE
SAKE OF GROWING, WE'RE GROWING
BECAUSE THE HUNGER AND THE NEED
IN NEW YORK CITY IS STILL
PERSISTENTLY HIGH.
WITH 1.3 MILLION NEW YORKERS NOT
ALWAYS KNOWING WHERE THEIR NEXT
MEAL IS COMING FROM, AND CLOSE
TO HALF OF FOLKS IN THE CITY IN
FACT, STRUGGLING TO MAKE ENDS
MEET, WE HAVE TO GROW AND HELP
PEOPLE PUT FOOD ON THE TABLE.
BECAUSE FOOD IS AN ELASTIC
EXPENSE.
YOU CAN'T DECIDE NOT TO PAY YOUR
RENT OR ELECTIELECTRICITY, BUT N
DECIDE TO GO TO A SOUP KITCHEN
OR A FOOD PANTRY.
>> THERE CONDI CONTINUES TO BE
IN THE CITY.
IT CALLS FOR US TO FIND MORE
FOOD, GET IT INTO THE HANDS OF
THOSE NEARLY 1.3 MILLION NEW
YORKERS, CONTINUED EMPHASIS ON
FRESH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES.
WHAT WE HEAR FROM THE AGENCIES
THAT WE TAKE THAT FOOD TO, IS
THAT THEY WOULD LIKE A GREATER
VARIETY.
SO WE'RE PUTTING EMPHASIS ON IF
WE CAN GET SOME DIFFERENT
FRUITS, IF WE CAN GET THE CITRUS
IN, THE GOODS ALWAYS LOVE THE
CITRUS THAT WE CAN DELIVER.
WE ARE CONTINUING TO GROW, AND
THERE'S STILL A LOT TO DO TO GET
FOOD TO OUR HUNGRY MAKES.
>> THANK YOU FOR JOINING US AND
TELLING US WHAT YOU'VE BEEN UP
TO FOR THE PAST 35 YEARS.
>> THANK YOU FOR HAVING ME.