More food better distributed
One in six New York City residents skips meals to save money, making emergency food assistance an essential service in the city. For people like Darryl, a father of four who struggles to provide for his family while fighting kidney cancer, the neighborhood food pantry is “a real help,” and not just for nutrition. “They keep you in good spirits around here,” he says. “It’s a place of hospitality and friendship.”
More than 1.4 million New Yorkers like Darryl lack sufficient food. While six different organizations collectively provide about 130 million pounds of food in NYC each year, limited coordination between providers was undercutting impact.
Redstone partnered with a major philanthropic funder to improve coordination so that more food reaches hungry New Yorkers. The New York City Food Assistance Collaborative set ambitious goals to increase the equity and efficiency of emergency food distribution over three years.
“New York City is working to build a stronger, more resilient food system that addresses the food needs of all City residents. The New York City Food Assistance Collaborative has bolstered New York’s last line of defense against hunger, by investing in community programs, information sharing, and better coordination, to bring ten million pounds of new food to the City’s most underserved neighborhoods.”
– Barbara Turk, NYC Mayor’s Office Director of Food Policy
Analyzing shared data from partners, Redstone pinpointed 20 neighborhoods where the amount of food available was significantly less than needed. Redstone then worked with the Collaborative to increase the food supply by strengthening agency capacity to distribute nutritious food, improving data-sharing to facilitate efficiency, and improving services for clients through better technology and coordination.
The Collaborative’s members are on track to distribute 10 million pounds of new food annually to these neighborhoods, resulting in 25,000 fewer hungry families. The city is piloting the first-ever mobile application for pantry registration and check-in. And the state of NY is exploring ways to learn from the NYC experience to improve service statewide. Taken together, these investments will generate a return on philanthropic investment of about 160% as more food becomes available for hungry New Yorkers.
Redstone continues to support the Collaborative as it rolls out Plentiful, an app that allows families to find, register, and check-in at food pantries when they need food, without waiting in line. Since Plentiful’s launch earlier this year, more than 100 pantries are registered with the app and 65,000 services have been processed. Already, the Cannes Lion-nominated app has provided the Collaborative the data needed to make better operational decisions, and provided neighborhood pantries insights that help them better serve families in their communities.
Going Far Together: The NYC Food Assistance Collaborative from Helmsley Charitable Trust on Vimeo.