Emergency Food Rescue

City Harvest rescues excess food using a fleet of 19 refrigerated trucks, three cargo bikes, over 150 full-time employees, and more than 8,000 volunteers. In fiscal year 2015, City Harvest will collect 50 million pounds of food, greater than the total amount of food collected in its first 14 years combined. Seventy five percent of this total will be comprised of nutrient dense foods, including fresh produce, meat and dairy. At City Harvest, we recognize our responsibility to the people we serve and ensure the highest food safety standards in every facet of our food rescue operations. We take careful steps to ensure that each pound of food is rescued and delivered safely.

How Our Food Rescue Works

Using a fleet of 19 trucks and three cargo bikes, City Harvest rescues and delivers food seven days a week. In one year, our trucks drive nearly 200,000 miles across the five boroughs, or more than eight times around the equator.

In December 2011, City Harvest opened a new 45,400 square foot Food Rescue Facility in Long Island City, Queens, helping us to bring more food to hungry New Yorkers. With this facility, City Harvest has the ability to rescue and deliver large amounts, and a great variety, of food. The Facility was outfitted with a large cooler and freezer to safely hold perishable food on a short-term basis, and a large dry storage area to sort non-perishable goods. Each morning, City Harvest's fleet of trucks are loaded with food and begin their day picking up and delivering food for hundreds of community programs.

Before the facility opened, City Harvest was able to move about 83,000 pounds per day with the help of a small 3,000 square foot rental space; now, we are able to move some 136,000 pounds daily. In fiscal year 2015, City Harvest will rescue 50 million pounds of food, 75% of which will be nutrient dense. By 2016, City Harvest will rescue 60 million pounds of food annually, while keeping low our overall cost to rescue and deliver a pound of food.

Take a virtual tour of our Food Rescue Facility on GoogleMaps.


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Where We Rescue The Food

While City Harvest started by collecting food from restaurants, we expanded to collect excess food from all segments of the food industry, including restaurants, grocers, bakeries, Greenmarkets, corporate cafeterias, manufacturers, and farms. This year, we will collect 50 million pounds of food, 75% of which will be nutrient dense.

City Harvest has nearly 2,000 food donors. See the complete list here.

City Harvest also relies on New Yorkers across the city to help feed their hungry neighbors by organizing food drives in their schools, apartment buildings, businesses and places of worship. For more information on food drives, click here.

Where The Food Goes

City Harvest regularly delivers food to more than 500 community food programs across New York City, helping feed the nearly two million people that face hunger in our community each year. These soup kitchens, food pantries, homeless shelters, AIDS care providers, senior centers, children's daycare centers, and other agencies together help feed hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers each week.

City Harvest's Kosher Initiative strives to improve the quality of life among low-income kosher observant seniors, immigrants, children, and families facing hunger through increased access to a wider variety of kosher food. Over the past 10 years, City Harvest has rescued and delivered more than 20 million pounds of emergency food to a network of kosher agencies across the five boroughs. Today, our network includes some 30 kosher agencies, helping to feed more than one million visitors annually.

After the largest Atlantic hurricane on record hit our shores, City Harvest immediately began filling an important new role on the front line of disaster relief. Just one day after Hurricane Sandy, City Harvest staff responded quickly and efficiently to maintain deliveries to our network of soup kitchens and food pantries, while adding emergency food drop-offs to areas hit hard by the storm. Thanks to an outpouring of support, we delivered more than 7.5 million pounds of food to Sandy-impacted areas between November 2012 and May 2013. While the immediate relief efforts have ended, City Harvest continues to assess how best we can strengthen our network of emergency food programs. Read our full report about our work in the days after Hurrricane Sandy.

See the network of agencies that City Harvest serves here.