The ROOT Report- Stories From the Frontlines: Food Access for Millions of New Yorkers in Crisis

WhyHunger has been in touch with our partners across the country and the globe to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting their communities and what they’re doing to help. What we’ve heard has been both heartbreaking and inspiring—further demonstrating the critical role of grassroots organizations as first responders in their communities. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing the stories of these partners in our Root Report series.

A cornerstone of the Brooklyn community, The Campaign Against Hunger has continued to evolve and serve its community over the past two decades. Founded in 1998 by Dr. Melony Samuels, The Campaign Against Hunger began as a food pantry in a church basement.Today, The Campaign’s reach has grown exponentially, serving nutritious food to vulnerable communities across the Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn. As New York City has emerged as the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, The Campaign Against Hunger is working tirelessly to provide emergency food relief to those most affected by this disease and its economic fallout.

Even before this crisis, The Campaign Against Hunger was redefining food access with innovative programs such as their online food pantry, Fresh Vibes market-on-wheels, mobile pantry, urban food production, and Green Teens youth farming program. Together, these initiatives creatively address both the current food insecurity in New Yorkand the systemic issues that perpetuate hunger and poverty across the city.

Green Teens work the land at TCAH’s Far Rock Urban Agro-Ecological Center

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Campaign Against Hunger has had to prioritize emergency food relief. With an increase of 240% in food distribution, the organization has rolled out new initiatives specifically designed to address hunger during the pandemic. Their team is packing and distributing upwards of 2000 bags of nutritious food daily for families across New York, increasing access to fresh produce and providing curbside pick-up from their pantries to keep staff and clients safe.

Featured on CNN News, The Campaign Against Hunger has received national recognition for increasing healthy food provision during this time. In this interview, Dr. Melony Samuels urged Americans to do all we can to help our community members in need, “We are New Yorkers, we are strong. We can make it, but we have to unite while keeping up the social distancing.” The mayor of New York City, Bill de Blasio, also visited The Campaign Against Hunger to commend their team’s valiant and continuous efforts to help New Yorkers in crisis.

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, The Campaign Against Hunger has served a total of 188,695 individuals and over 1,890,000 meals. These numbers are increasing each day with the help of local partnerships, donations, and the work of the organization’s dedicated team. The Campaign Against Hunger has played a key role in nourishing vulnerable communities during this crisis and will continue to fight for the human right to nutritious food until there is equal access for all.

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