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Mayor de Blasio Announces City Has Distributed 100 Million Meals to New Yorkers Since March, Calls on Federal Government to Increase Funding for Food Assistance

July 21, 2020

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NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio and Sanitation Commissioner and COVID-19 Food Czar Kathryn Garcia today announced that the City of New York has distributed an astounding 100 million meals to New Yorkers in need since March. The 100 million free meals distributed covers meals at DOE Grab & Go Meal Hubs and those distributed via the Emergency Home Food Delivery Program, which employs Taxi and Limousine Commission-licensed drivers to bring food to New Yorkers who cannot go out or afford private delivery options. This emergency effort by the City of New York exists in addition to the longstanding and continuing work of nonprofits across the five boroughs. New York City remains committed to ensuring no New Yorker goes hungry due to this crisis, and anyone in need can connect to services via 311 or at

“No New Yorker should ever go a day without being able to put food on the table,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Since the beginning of the pandemic, we’ve distributed one hundred million meals to New Yorkers in need, and we won’t stop there. The federal government must step up and continue to provide funding so we can continue our mission to ensure no New Yorker goes hungry.”

“One hundred million meals distributed is an incredible achievement, and I want to celebrate every staff member, vendor, and community partner who helped fulfill our City’s fundamental need to eat. I hope the federal government will support us in continuing this effort as long as need among seniors and the most vulnerable New Yorkers persists, whether through reimbursements for food distributed or through new benefits like P-EBT. Any New Yorker in need can call 311 or visit to get connected to services,” said Kathryn Garcia, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Sanitation and the City’s COVID-19 Food Czar.

New York City is leading a robust outreach effort around a new federal benefit, P-EBT, which will give $420 per child to all public school parents for groceries, regardless of income or immigration status. Many parents who already received SNAP or Medicaid have seen this benefit reach their accounts already, with others expected to receive new cards from New York State later this year. Multilingual flyers about P-EBT can be seen here.

“One hundred million meals means one hundred million times New Yorkers did not go hungry during the health and economic crises caused by COVID-19. I am so proud of the heroic work of our food service employees to keep children, families, and entire communities fed. Staving off hunger is not a privilege, it is a necessity, and the federal government must step up to fully fund our fight to keep our most vulnerable New Yorkers nourished,” said Richard A. Carranza, New York City Schools Chancellor.

“The TLC’s licensed drivers continue to be active partners in our City’s recovery, and in fulfilling the Mayor’s promise that no one will go hungry during this crisis. The importance of federal support for our crucial work cannot be understated,” said Taxi and Limousine Commissioner Aloysee Heredia Jarmoszuk.

“One of our goals as a City was to ensure no one went without access to food during these difficult times, and today’s milestone is a testament to our commitment to helping our fellow New Yorkers. I want thank all of our partners who have made this initiative possible, and as we look ahead, we hope the federal government will support us with the financial resources to continue providing these essential resources to our families who need them most,” said NYC Emergency Management Commissioner Deanne Criswell.

"During this crisis, we answered the call to help serve more than 30 million of the 100 million meals to New Yorkers. We operated nine food distributions sites city wide, and transformed seven of our recreation centers to meet this goal," said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver. "We want to thank our sister agencies including the Office of Emergency Management, Department of Sanitation, and the Taxi and Limousine Commission for their partnership in this endeavor. While we are always proud to serve New Yorkers through engaging and enriching programming, it has been a unique privilege to be able to serve the community in new ways during this time of need.”

“In May, I, along with State Senator Persaud, Assemblyman Hevesi and Councilwoman Koslowitz led 94 New York elected officials from Congress, the State Legislature and City Council in sending a letter to President Trump calling for more funding for critical safety net programs for New York including the P-EBT, and I am extremely pleased that parents are now receiving this critical benefit,” said U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Queens). “It will be a huge boost towards helping families pay for food during this pandemic; it is available regardless of income or immigration status, and I urge ALL recipients to use this money. I am proud to have fought for this needed funding. I also commend Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner-Food Czar Garcia for the City distributing 100 million meals to New Yorkers in need. Nobody, particularly children, should go hungry due to COVID-19. The health and safety of our children and all New Yorkers must be at the forefront of our efforts to combat the coronavirus, and as a member of the House Appropriations Committee, I will keep up the fight to ensure that more federal funding heads to New York,” said Congresswoman Grace Meng.

“Standing up a program like this from square one is a remarkable feat,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Congratulations to the Mayor, Commissioner Garcia, and her team for being responsive to the unprecedented food insecurity brought on by the pandemic. Engaging businesses, nonprofits, and underemployed drivers in this massive effort-- while addressing concerns in nutrition, menu options, deliveries and the inevitable bumps in the road— is a feat of leadership and logistics worth celebrating,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer.

"These drivers have become a major lifeline for many of our most vulnerable Bronx residents," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. "We are grateful for the service these taxi and for-hire drivers have provided, stepping up in a huge way, having participated in this program and distributed over a 100 million meals to New Yorkers who are in dire need since the COVID-19 pandemic started. These taxi and for-hire drivers have our gratitude for providing a great public and essential service delivering food to our communities unable to get groceries during this crisis."

"Food insecurity is estimated to have doubled during this pandemic. I commend the city for their commitment to fight hunger and delivering an incredible 100 million meals to New Yorkers. Food insecurity is an ongoing emergency and New York City needs federal assistance to continue to provide for every family in need of food throughout the COVID-19 pandemic," said State Senator Andrew Gounardes.

"100 million meals distributed across NYC is a blessing we cannot take lightly," said Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman. "While NYC is blessed to have the means to distribute so many meals, this also speaks to the need of this city now more than ever. I know the constituents of AD29 are grateful for the DOE Grab & Go Meals that have allowed them to feed their families and themselves. I hope the federal government does the right thing, and allows us to feed 100 million more meals."

"While New York City continues its path to recovery, we can't ignore the steady demand for food assistance in working class communities, especially low-income seniors. I join the Mayor in calling for additional federal funding to sustain the City's various food programs. Our City has already emerged as a model for how other cities and states should proactively respond to this pandemic. The federal government must step in as a stronger ally to our City's recovery efforts," said Council Member Margaret S. Chin.

“COVID-19 has financially impacted the lives of millions of New Yorkers. Now more than ever we must continue providing nutritious food for families experiencing hunger. I am happy to know that more than 100 million meals have been distributed to New Yorkers across the City,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez, Chairman of the Transportation Committee. “I sincerely thank all of our TLC Drivers and delivery essential workers who continue to deliver meals to New Yorkers each and everyday. I will continue working with Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Johnson, and my colleagues at the Council to ensure no family or child goes hungry.”

“In response to the greatest hunger crisis of modern times, the City accomplished two remarkable milestones over just a few months: enabling 120,000 additional New Yorkers to obtain federally-funded SNAP benefits and directly proving 100 million meals,” said Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger Free America, a nationwide nonprofit organization based in New York City.” We all agree that more still needs to be done, but it is vital to note that the City government was able to accomplish over a few months gargantuan tasks that would normally take government years. “

“New York City has taken tremendous strides – in the most challenging of circumstances – to ensure children and families across the city can get the nutritious meals they may need,” said Rachel Sabella, Director of No Kid Hungry New York with Share Our Strength. “Summer is already one of the hungriest times of the year for many kids as they lose access to free and low-cost school meals. This year, the need is even greater, with millions of families feeling serious financial strain caused by the pandemic. No Kid Hungry is grateful to support New York City’s efforts to promote Pandemic-EBT and access to meals for ALL New Yorkers.”

"The programs that Commissioner Garcia and her team have worked diligently to create in the face of an exploding need for food assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic have been essential as more families face hunger," said Leslie Gordon, President and CEO of Food Bank For New York City. "Food Bank's work of supporting our city's network of food pantries and soup kitchens and helping New Yorkers navigate grocery benefits like SNAP and P-EBT relies on continued innovation and coordination with the Office of the Mayor. For families facing lost wages, closed schools, and vulnerability to the coronavirus, we must fortify each program working to connect New Yorkers to critical food resources."

"Helping feed the hungry during the COVID-19 pandemic is one of the most important obligations of New York City during this pandemic,” said Met Council CEO David Greenfield. “We join with Mayor de Blasio to celebrate the 100 millionth meal being distributed. In this trying time, it's important that we come together and help one another, and Met Council has been proud to be on the frontlines delivering meals to those who need them across the five boroughs. As New York's largest Jewish social services safety net, Met Council is working hard every day to ensure that hungry New Yorkers get fed and by teaming up with our partners in the city we are making that a reality."

"We applaud Mayor de Blasio and Sanitation Commissioner and COVID-19 Food Czar Kathryn Garcia on their swift response addressing the food needs of vulnerable New Yorkers during this crisis," said Sheena Wright, President and CEO of United Way of New York City. "Congratulations on today's impressive milestone of distributing 100 million meals through multiple channels that accommodate the unique circumstances New Yorkers are facing now. In addition, the City's leadership on P-EBT outreach provides families with school age children flexible purchasing options to meet their individual food preferences while also supporting our local food retailers including farmers who accept EBT at NYC farmers markets."

"New York Common Pantry is proud to partner with the City of New York in addressing food insecurity. Though the challenge has never been greater than during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, NYC has demonstrated strong leadership during this critical time highlighted in part by having served 100 million meals since March. A wonderful, noteworthy accomplishment!" said Stephen Grimaldi, Executive Director of New York Common Pantry. "Emergency Food Organizations like New York Common Pantry need robust partners in government working alongside us and helping to amplify community voices on issues like poverty, food insecurity and the disproportionate impact faced in communities of color across our city. We look forward to continuing to work together on these critical issues."

"I commend Mayor Bill de Blasio and Commissioner Kathryn Garcia for spearheading this initiative to ensure that the most vulnerable in our city do not go hungry,” said The Campaign Against Hunger Executive Director Dr. Melony Samuels. “This collaborative effort is a testament to our city's strength and its commitment to fighting hunger, especially in times of crisis. As one of the largest anti-hunger organizations in NYC, The Campaign Against Hunger has witnessed the disproportionate impacts of COVID-19 on our communities. We have doubled our annual impact having served over 6 million meals within four months because food insecurity has peaked. I am happy that the city has stepped up to bridge the gap for many hungry New Yorkers."

 “At Rethink, we are grateful that the City has given such clear leadership and we are honored to be able to help,” said Matt Jozwiak, CEO and Founder of Rethink Food.

"During the heart of the COVID19 pandemic New York City stood as a community, city agencies,, emergency food providers, community members,  all working as front line providers across all 5 boroughs to bring food to people in need,” said Greg Silverman, Executive Director of West Side Campaign Against Hunger. “The West Side Campaign Against Hunger and hundreds of other emergency food providers in this city, who have been working for decades to alleviate food insecurity by ensuring all New Yorkers have access with dignity to a choice of healthy food and supportive services, often felt overwhelmed by the need, but we are ever thankful to the city of New York for its part in bringing more food to more New Yorkers in need.  In months and years ahead we hope that through better collaboration, extensive data sharing, and focus on healthy food access we can once and for all make sure all New Yorkers have the food they need, want, and deserve, each and everyday."

“During this time of uncertainty, we are honored to invest in our small- to medium-scale farmers, and in turn, nourish New Yorkers in need of food access,” said The Common Market Mid-Atlantic’s Executive Director, Yael Lehmann. "Local, healthy, fresh food makes a difference in one's mental and physical well-being — we're proud to source and deliver it, and serve a part in the city's emergency food relief efforts." 

“God’s Love We Deliver is thankful for the citywide hunger response effort during this COVID-19 crisis,” said Karen Pearl, President & CEO of God’s Love We Deliver. “We are proud to cook and home-deliver medically tailored meals to are vulnerable neighbors living with serious illness. This emergency funding ensures that our clients can continue to receive the medically tailored nutrition – and love – they receive with each delivery.”

Beth Shapiro, Executive Director of Citymeals on Wheels said, "Citymeals on Wheels is proud to have delivered more than 1.25 million weekend, holiday and emergency meals to frail aged New Yorkers since the Covid-19 crisis began - and grateful to the City's Get Food NYC program for funding nearly 20% of those meals. While the city has begun to reopen, our elderly neighbors remain at risk and isolated, either unable or afraid to leave their homes. Citymeals will continue to work with all our partners, including Get Food NYC, to ensure our vital lifeline of nutritious meals and regular check-ins for the city's most vulnerable population: our homebound elderly."

"As we enter our 10th year, we at the Corbin Hill Food Project, are pleased to support the Mayor's and Commissioner's efforts to address food insecurity in response to COVID-19,” said Corbin Hill Food Project President and Founder Dennis Derryck. “Not only has it provided us with the opportunity to support New Yorkers in need, but it has allowed us to go beyond food insecurity to build community wealth through partnership with local agriculture as well as the Brooklyn Packers, which is a Black founded and owned cooperative. Their essential workers receive 15% of every dollar spent, which supports their efforts around community wealth building."

“Against the backdrop of lockdown, rampant fear and daunting supply challenges, the NYC Food Czar team has led with extraordinary skill. Literally available 24/7, they created systems and engendered a true spirit of partnership, caring about each meal. When every day is ‘blizzard like conditions,’ they succeeded in building organization and bringing out the best in all of us,” said Liz Neumark, Chair and Founder of Great Performances.

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