City Harvest's Response to Hurrican Sandy

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  • HURRICANE SANDY RELIEFA REPORT ON CITY HARVESTS RESPONSE TO THE STORM JULY 2013

    Now serving New York City for more than 30 years, City Harvest is the world's rst food rescue organization, dedicated to feeding the citys hungry men, women and children. This year, City Harvest will collect 46 million pounds of excess food from all segments of the food industry, including restaurants, grocery stores, corporate cafeterias, manufacturers, and farms. This food is then delivered free of charge to some 400 community food programs throughout New York City using a eet of trucks and bikes. City Harvest helps feed the more than one million New Yorkers that face hunger each year.

    A Message from City Harvests Executive Director, Jilly Stephens

    Known for our fast, ecient food rescue and delivery model, City Harvest was uniquely positioned to respond virtually immediately to the communities that needed access to emergency food following Sandy. We tapped into our diverse network of generous food donors, nancial supporters, dedicated volunteers, and community partners to quickly get good, healthy food and supplies where they were needed most.

    Since October 31, 2012, City Harvest has delivered more than seven million pounds of food in direct response to the storm, in addition to our regular deliveries. Weve also worked closely with the food pantries and soup kitchens in our network to help them rebuild after Sandy. Our Agency Relations team spent weeks visiting our partners in hard-hit areas, secured pro-bono consulting to assess the extent of damages, and solicited contractor bids to complete reconstruction projects. All in all, we distributed more than $800,000 in grants to help emergency feeding programs on the front line recover from the structural damage and nancial burdens caused by the storm. At the same time, we are working to address the longer term emergency food needs of a number of these hard-hit communities and are helping them plan and prepare for future disasters.

    I am so proud of the work made possible thanks to the overwhelming generosity of our supporters, and the commitment of our sta and volunteers, and I am pleased to provide you with this report detailing City Harvests Hurricane Sandy response through June 30, 2013. Thank you again for stepping up to help the New Yorkers who bore the brunt of the storms impact.

    It is hard to believe that nearly one year has passed since Hurricane Sandy struck New York City. I vividly remember a day in November when I accompanied one of our drivers on a route to deliver food to the Rockaways. The scope of the storms impact took my breath away. I was, however, equally struck by the resilience, spirit and camaraderie of our neighbors. The storm did not play favorites; its aects were felt by many who had very little and many who had much more.

    Hurricane Sandy arrived at a time when a record number of New Yorkers were accessing emergency food. With a cost of living that continues to outpace wage growth, far too many low-income New Yorkers are struggling to put food on the table. Many of the areas in the city most-impacted by Sandy were also some of the most impoverished and had a signicant unmet need for emergency food.

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  • Collaborated with NYCs Dept of Human Resources, FEMA, and New York City Housing Authority to identify drop o points and delivered food to the Rockaways, Coney Island, Lower East Side, and Breezy Point.

    Hit the road with 19 rented trucks to deliver 315,000 pounds of food to help feed New Yorkers hardest hit by Sandy.

    Delivered much-needed kosher food to 550 people at the Park Slope Armory.

    On October 29, in anticipation of Sandys arrival, Mayor Bloomberg ordered the New York City transit system to shut down and for residents in low-lying areas to evacuate to safe zones. That night, and into the early hours of October 30, Hurricane Sandy struck the shores of New York, causing great infrastructure damage across the city. Once the storm passed, City Harvest sprang into action. Later that day, our Executive Director, Director of Warehouse and Distribution, and Associate Director of Warehouse arrived onsite to our 45,000 square foot Food Rescue Facility, located in Evacuation Zone A in Long Island City, to assess damages and map out an immediate timeline to resume our emergency food deliveries. We faced our own storm-related challenges, including signicant damage to our eet and refrigeration compressors. Still, our number one priority was to get trucks on the road and begin moving as much food as possible to the areas that needed it most.

    On October 31, we reopened the Facility and our Agency Relations team immediately began reaching out to our network of food pantries and soup kitchens to assess their needs and identify their capacity to accept food for distribution. Meanwhile, City Harvests program and government relations sta connected with community partners and city ocials to identify the hard-hit neighborhoods that needed food and organizations

    The First 72 Hours

    HURRICANE SANDY RELIEF

    that could handle distributions. That same day, we rescued and delivered some 85,000 pounds of beef, yogurt and assorted produce from our long-time supporters at Fresh Direct and we worked with our long-standing restaurant partners to secure more than 200 portions of prepared meals.

    Less than 72 hours after Sandy made landfall, City Harvest was operating at 100% capacity. With a eet of 19 rented trucks on the road making pickups and deliveries we distributed some 315,000 pounds of food in the rst three days of the recovery eort to help feed our neighbors in need. At the same time, our Food Sourcing team secured more than 20 tractor trailer loads of food to be delivered to our Facility in the following days, as additional food donations began pouring in from all over the country.

    In the days following the storm, we received hundreds of inquiries from New Yorkers who were interested in helping their neighbors. We knew that it was important to nd a way for New Yorkers across the city to get involved with the response. Working with long-time partners, the Daily News, NYPD, FDNY, Municipal Credit Union, and Modells, we moved up the launch of the 30th annual Daily News Readers Care to Feed the Hungry food drive one week ahead of schedule to provide New Yorkers with visible, accessible locations to donate food. Ultimately, the drive secured a record 1.4 million pounds of food for New Yorks hungry residents.

    New York Citys Private and Immediate Response to Hunger

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    As the city's response to Sandy continued to unfold, City Harvest sta saw a ripple eect across the citys emergency food landscape: while the areas hit hardest by Sandy were experiencing an incredible high demand for emergency food, the agencies in City Harvests network located outside of these areas also saw an uptick in demand as displaced residents sought shelter with friends and family across the city.

    Began sourcing 20-40 tractor trailer loads of food per week more than double our normal operations. Thanks to the addition of our Food Rescue Facility, our food sourcing team had the capacity to source and temporarily store up to two million pounds of food for distribution. We kept the Facility open and staed for extended hours in order to accept, organize and dispatch donations quickly. Tractor trailers from across the country lined up at our loading docks, bringing in Meals Ready to Eat, donations from our national partner Feeding America, food from Goya, goods from our friends at the Boston Food Bank, and non-food supplies like toiletries and cleaning products.

    Turned to our long-standing restaurant partners to secure high-quality hot meals. New Yorks top dining establishments have always been eager to lend a hand to help City Harvest ght hunger in our city, and they stepped up again after Hurricane Sandy. Just days after the storm, with the help of dozens of volunteers and the generosity of Kettle Cuisine and Tom Cat Bakery, we created a pop up food distribution site in MCU Park in Coney Island, distributing 3,000 portions of hot soup, fresh bread, bananas and pantry bags directly to residents in need. L'Artusi, Shake Shack, and GoBurger prepared thousands of meals to help feed Sandy victims. And at the P.S. 215 playground in Far Rockaway, Dinosaur Bar-B-Que and NFL quarterback Mark Sanchez teamed up to distribute hundreds of hot meals to our hungry neighbors many of whom were still without reliable access to basic utilities.

    Added nine trucks and seven routes to expand relief operations. With a distribution area ranging from Far Rockaway to the North Shore of Staten Island, and from Red Hook to the South Bronx, City Harvest needed to get more trucks on the road. By increasing the size of our eet from 18 to 27 trucks, we were able to restore deliveries to our network of emergency feeding programs and incorporate seven new distribution routes to move food to reach even the most geographically isolated Sandy victims.

    Responding to the Increased Need Across the City

    In response to this unprecedented need, we decided to operate on parallel tracks, with deliveries to our network of food pantries and soup kitchens and targeted drops to emergency relief sites in the areas hardest-hit by Sandy. City Harvests 30 years of food rescue experience enabled us to quickly and eectively move good food to help feed those who needed it most. Specically, we:

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    Relying on City Harvests Dedicated Volunteers

    Throughout City Harvests response, our dedicated volunteers continued to support the relief work in droves. With dozens of tractor trailer loads of food and supplies arriving at the Facility each week, we needed manpower to repack the goods into pantry bags and boxes that could easily be distributed directly to those in need. Fortunately, City Harvest can count on a strong base of volunteers who have demonstrated their willingness to step up time and again. Every year, thousands of individuals and hundreds of our corporate partners contribute to City Harvests mission through volunteering, a commitment of time and energy that keeps our costs low and makes it possible for us to dedicate more of our resources to ghting hunger in New York City.

    We turned to our volunteers again in Sandys aftermath, and the response was overwhelming. Steadfast corporate partners and hundreds of passionate individuals populated our Food Rescue Facility, bagging goods in shifts totaling up to 12 hours per day. In the early days of the response, when a large number of New Yorkers were without utilities and couldnt prepare foods at home, our volunteers packed ready-to eat food, shelf-stable items and relief supplies into bags and boxes, ensuring that we could load them onto trucks and get them quickly to hard-hit areas of Brooklyn, lower Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. As our response evolved, residents needed dierent items depending on their individual situations and City Harvest had the variety of goods to help meet the diverse needs of our neighbors. All told, more than 1,250 volunteers participated in 34 repacks over just 8 weeks, lling some 100,000 pantry bags with more than 800,000 pounds of food and supplies.

    Thank you to the corporate volunteer groups who helped with City Harvests response to Sandy.

    American Express American Express PublishingAmeriprise Financial Apax Partners Apella Barclays

    Bank of America BDO USA, LLP BlackRock Bloomberg BNY Mellon The Carlyle Group Citi

    Citi Habitats The William J. Clinton Foundation The Clinton Global Initiative Cohn & Wolfe

    Credit Suisse Deloitte Deutsche Bank Diageo DKNY DuJour Magazine EmblemHealth Equalshot

    The FEED Foundation Food & Wine Magazine GCI Health Goldman Sachs Google Horizon Media

    HSBC Hudson River Trading JPMorgan Chase Kenneth Cole Landmarc Le Parker Meridien

    Macquarie Group McGraw-Hill Mitsubishi Mitsubishi International Morgan Stanley National Basketball

    Association Brooklyn Nets New York Road Runners The New York Times PepsiCo. Inc PIMCO Ralph Lauren Robin Hood Soroban Capital Partners LLC

    TD Bank Turner Construction Van Wagner Communications LLC Warburg Pincus LLC Wells Fargo

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    Adjusting to Shifting Emergency Food Needs

    Bronx: 64,286 lbs.Randalls IslandPort Morris

    Queens: 2,354,339 lbs. ArverneFar RockawayHoward BeachRockaway Beach

    Brooklyn: 3,283,103 lbs.CanarsieConey IslandGerritsen BeachGravesendRed HookSheepshead Bay

    Manhattan: 659,507 lbs.East HarlemLower Manhattan

    Staten Island: 1,152,110 lbs.Midland BeachNew DorpPort RichmondRichmond Hill

    Emergency Food Delivered in Direct Response to Hurricane Sandy

    As recovery eorts progressed, City Harvest was there, continuously assessing needs on the ground and adjusting our services to help meet the hunger needs of heavily impacted communities that would require a longer-term response. We joined the Executive Committee of the Multi-Agency Feeding Task Force, which was convened by the Red Cross (and comprised of representatives from the Mayors Oce, Oce of Emergency Management, FEMA, and other anti-hunger organizations) and designed to coordinate resources and troubleshoot challenges. The Task Force estimated that some 25,000 residents in aected New York City communities would have a sustained need for food.

    To help meet this need, City Harvest assembled a plan to extend our hurricane relief operations. We knew that our operations team couldnt continue to be stretched so thin and that we would need additional resources for the second phase of our response, as we moved past the initial crisis into recovery mode. We secured a grant from the American Red Cross to fund a food box initiative each package contained 24 complete meals through mid-February, and then, informed by community needs assessments, extended this program through mid-March. During this 15-week period, City Harvest delivered some 135,000 food boxes to 22 emergency food providers and 28 relief sites, providing more than three million meals to those aected by Sandy.

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    To support these distributions, City Harvest added four temporary sta members to be our eyes and ears on the ground, assessing needs and providing support to food distribution sites. This eld team conducted two comprehensive rounds of needs assessments, evaluating the situation at both individual emergency food providers and the communities where they were operating, to inform food distributions and adjust services as needed. Through client surveys, we were able to drill down to two main causes for the sustained high demand for emergency food in these areas.

    In Howard Beach, Gerritsen Beach, Sheepshead Bay, New Dorp Beach, Midland Beach, and Gravesend, we found that the economic burdens incurred from the storm home repair, car replacement, unemployme...

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