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Aids Soup Kitchens, Pantries On Coast

Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Linda I. Gibbs, Megan Sheekey, president of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, Human Resources Administration (HRA) Commissioner Robert Doar, New York City Food Policy Coordinator Kim Kessler, Food Bank for New York City and City Harvest announced a new grant program to support the citywide emergency food network of soup kitchens and food pantries that served community needs in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

With funding from the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, grants are supporting the post-Sandy distribution of thousands of meals throughout the hardest hit communities, as well as helping with the rebuilding and improved resiliency of emergency food providers working in Sandy-affected areas. Grants are being awarded on a rolling basis until mid-April.

“Food pantries and soup kitchens responded swiftly to meet community needs after Hurricane Sandy, even when they themselves had been impacted,” said Gibbs. “The city is committed to helping our non-profit partners get back on their own feet as they continue to help our neighbors recover.”

After Hurricane Sandy, many emergency food providers faced a new reality as their client base grew, even as many of them were struggling to rebuild their own facilities. More than 20 emergency food providers-or nearly a third of those located in Sandy-affected areas-suffered loss of power, flooding or structural damage following the storm.

The grants leverage existing support from the Red Cross of Greater New York. Emergency food providers are being selected by Food Bank For New York City and City Harvest to receive mini-grants for the following uses:

Food: Provide food grants to help programs that lost shelf-stable and/or perishable food due to power outages or flooding. Food grants will also be provided to programs that need extra food to meet increased demand and to ensure that quality, nutritious food is on their pantry shelves and in their soup kitchens.

Benefits outreach: Provide marketing tools, technical assistance, and direct cash support to programs that conduct benefits outreach, such as SNAP, in hard-hit areas.

Program operations: Cash grants will help agencies cover costs, both past and projected, associated with the increased work of distributing disaster food and supplies and conducting benefits outreach activities in the affected zones, including increased staffing and volunteer needs, as well as transportation and other staffing expenses. Additionally, these cash grants will help programs that sustained losses not reimbursable by FEMA and help them become fully operational again.

The HRA’s Emergency Food Assistance Program provides food and funding to nearly 500 soup kitchens and food pantries. Thirty-five of those emergency food programs are located in the areas affected by Sandy. everal of these programs are still inoperable.

The program distributed 505,238 pounds of food within two to three weeks after Sandy, almost a 50 percent increase over the same time period of the prior month. The HRA expedited delivery of food to pantries and soup kitchens in the affected areas so they could continue to provide food and meals.

The agency also increased the amount of food and delivery cycle for emergency food providers unaffected by the storm and willing to provide services to the impacted communities.

For more information, visit www.nyc.gov or follow the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City on Twitter @NYCMayorsFund.

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