City Harvest's Response to Hurrican Sandy

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    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.


  • 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


    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



    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:



    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



    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.



    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, unemployment engulfed a wide swath of New Yorkers. The majority of residents accessing the food boxes had never before turned to emergency food. In these areas, many families fronted repair costs on credit cards, anticipating FEMA reimbursements that were delayed or lower than expected, and were later left struggling to purchase food. By the middle of March, most of the Sandy-related economic hardships had subsided. Utilities had been fully restored, most grocery stores reopened, and residents returned to work.

    When disaster-related needs disappeared, we phased out the food box deliveries and continued our standard deliveries of good, fresh food to the emergency feeding programs in our network located in these areas.

    However, in Arverne, Far Rockaway, Canarsie, Coney Island, Red Hook, and Port Richmond, City Harvests most-recent community survey conrmed what many of us in the eld had long seen: these isolated areas were lacking access to social services prior to Sandy and were further depressed by the storms impact. City Harvests eld team saw that the lines between disaster relief and chronic food insecurity were often blurred. Today, as the spotlight begins to fade on these low-income, Sandy-aected areas, City Harvest remains committed to helping increase access to emergency food for the long term.

    Road Ahead: Rebuilding

    As part of the second phase in our hurricane response, City Harvest is providing a range of nancial and technical resources to our community feeding partners, helping them recoup, rebuild, and prepare for future spikes in demand for emergency food. Weve also nalized a vehicle replacement plan that will enable City Harvest to replace those lost in the storm. All of these eorts are designed to help repair the foundation of New York Citys emergency food safety net as City Harvest continues to move a record amount of food to help feed our hungry neighbors.

    With support from the Mayors Fund for NYC, we allocated more than $215,000 to emergency feeding programs to help oset nancial burdens incurred from the storm.

    Funding for Relief Operations and Infrastructure

    Improvement Grants

    The traditional fundraising season around Thanksgiving was eclipsed by disaster relief eorts, preventing many agencies from recouping funds they had used for hurricane relief.

    City Harvest granted some $600,000 to agencies in our network that required capital improvements due to the impact of Hurricane Sandy, providing critical support in vulnerable communities for years to come.

    Red Hook respondents who did not have access to grocery stores to purchase basic foods for their family

    New Dorp Beach food box recipients who had never turned to emergency food prior to Sandy

    Canarsie respondents who were not condent that they could feed their family if relief sites were no longer available

    82% 83%94%

    Adjusting to Shifting Emergency Food Needs (cont.)

    Source: City Harvests Hurricane Sandy Community Needs Assessment, March 2013.



    Road Ahead: Rebuilding (cont.)

    Support to RebuildThe soup kitchens and food pantries in City Harvests network are on the front lines, working to feed the more than one million New Yorkers who access emergency food each year. In the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy, these tenuous feeding programs extended their reach above and beyond to help feed New Yorkers in need. To strengthen these food pantries and soup kitchens post-Sandy, City Harvest has expanded our annual small grants program to provide more than $800,000 in funds to help emergency feeding programs recover from the structural damage and nancial burdens caused by the storm.

    Increasing Emergency Food Access in High-Need AreasRecovery eorts following a natural disaster such as Hurricane Sandy require a patient response that evolves with each aected communitys needs. As detailed throughout this report, many of the communities that were severely impacted by Hurricane Sandy are also some of New York Citys most impoverished. At the same time, they are isolated areas, severely underserved by the citys social services safety net. More than half a year after the storm, local businesses most of which have reopened struggle to attract clientele, and hurricane-related unemployment continued to place added strain on residents.

    Highest pockets of residents living in poverty by census tract

    Hurricane Sandy food recipients who anticipate that they will need to rely on emergency food for the foreseeable future

    To help address the sustained need for emergency food in these communities while supporting the resurgence of local food retail outlets, City Harvest adjusted our deliveries, replacing the food boxes with our standard mix of supplemental emergency food. Supporting local food outlets as they work to rebuild their client base is critical to both the long-term employment of local community members as well as the food security of these neighborhoods. People need opportunities to consistently purchase healthy, aordable foods in their community to feed their family.

    At the same time, City Harvest has identied at least ve community-based organizations located in Sandy-impacted areas that are interested in becoming permanent emergency feeding programs. In the coming months, we will continue to provide these sites with deliveries of good, fresh food combined with technical assistance as we incorporate these partners into our agency network.

    Poverty Source: U.S. Census Bureaus September 2011 American Community Survey, Five-Year Estimates. Food Insecurity Source: City Harvests Hurricane Sandy Community Needs Assessment, March 2013.









    Red HookConey Island

    CanarsieFar Rockaway

    Rockaway -Arverne









    Red HookConey Island

    CanarsieFar Rockaway

    Rockaway -Arverne


    Road Ahead: Rebuilding (cont.)

    Replacing our FleetIn the days immediately following Hurricane Sandy, City Harvests number one priority was to move as much food as possible to the areas that needed it most. Though our eet was permanently damaged when the East River and Newtown Creeks initial surge ooded the Midtown Tunnel and signicant parts of Long Island City, we quickly rented trucks and were out on the road one day later, delivering food to the hardest-hit areas.

    As we enter a new phase in the recovery eort, City Harvest is moving ahead with plans to replace our familiar eet of green and white trucks. Taking into account our ambitious food rescue and delivery goals over the next few years, nancial realities, and our commitment to utilizing environmentally conscious technology, we developed a purchase plan for our replacement eet. We are condent that this strategy will provide City Harvest with more operational and nancial exibility, while substantially reducing eet expenditures for several years. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, including Robin Hood, Feeding America, the New York City Council, New York Times Neediest Cases Fund, and The Clark Foundation, City Harvest will be able to own, rather than lease, the majority of our eet. Over the life of each owned vehicle, we expect to save more than $15,000 in lease payments and maintenance costs, which translates to more than 700,000 pounds of emergency food we can rescue and deliver to help feed hungry New Yorkers.

    Disaster PreparednessEmergency feeding programs in our network particularly those located in New York Citys coastal evacuation zones must create tailored plans of action in the event of an emergency. City Harvest has been working with the Oce of Emergency Management to determine which of the emergency food programs in our network are located in the citys newly-revised evacuation zones. With this information, we will assess how City Harvest can help agencies be better prepared to feed New Yorkers in the event of an emergency. For example, agencies that are capable may be able to preemptively receive additional food during times of high alert, and those sites would be identied as food centers in advance, so that residents know where they can access food.

    At the same time, City Harvest has established a disaster preparedness plan that ensures we are able to again quickly respond to the emergency food needs of our neighbors when disaster strikes. We worked with Wellspring Consulting to conduct a postmortem of our response, built a disaster feeding plan, and have established an internal disaster team based on our Sandy experience to continue to assess and adjust our emergency response plan. We are also assembling a comprehensive business continuity plan so that City Harvest is best prepared to respond to accidents, disasters, and emergencies. Thank you again for your generous support. Together, we will continue to help meet both the sudden and sustained emergency food needs of hungry New Yorkers.

    "...thank you for the service you've provided to the Marlboro community. I wish I could convey on this page the expressions of appreciation from residents who have received your food packages. This service has been of enormous benet to us. Our residents look forward to receiving food from you and line up when your truck arrivesIn some cases, the food you send makes the dierence between whether or not some people eat on a given day.

    -Victoria StancilPresident, New York City Housing Authority Marlboro Residents

    City Harvest is actively participating in after action reports with Feeding America and the American Red Cross, as well as the Oce of Emergency Management and the New York City Council. Weve also shared our Hurricane Sandy experience in conferences sponsored by The New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College City University of New York School of Public Health, The City University of New York Graduate Center, and the 2013 National Hurricane Conference in New Orleans.



    Financial information

    More than one hundred food donors, 60 corporations, 55 foundations, and 1,300 individuals contributed more than $14 million in nancial and in kind donations to support City Harvests Hurricane Sandy response. Together, we moved more than 7 million pounds of food to help feed New Yorkers in the hardest-hit areas.

    Donated Food: $7,606,417

    Corporations: $1,055,057

    Foundations: $1,964,743

    Individuals: $199,825

    Organizations: $3,539,044

    Hurricane Sandy Restricted Income (through June 30, 2013): $14,365,086

    Food delivery to the areas hardest-hit by Sandy: $12,261,192

    Infrastructure and budget relief grants to emergency feeding programs: $850,095

    Capital repairs to Food Rescue Facility and truck replacement: $959,287

    Overhead: $294,512

    Hurricane Sandy Expenditures (through June 30, 2013): $14,365,086


    Sandy Relief Cover PageSandy Relief Report p1Sandy Relief Report p2Sandy Relief Report p3Sandy Relief Report p4Sandy Relief Report p5Sandy Relief Report p6Sandy Relief Report p7Sandy Relief Report p8


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