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Our Story

We’re neighbors helping neighbors.

Forty years ago, City Harvest helped start the food rescue movement. Today, we continue to see the tremendous impact food rescue has on our community.  

Neighbors across New York City rely on City Harvest to help fill their plates with fresh, nutritious food. This year, we will rescue more than 77 million pounds of food and deliver it, free of charge, to hundreds of food pantries and soup kitchens across the five boroughs to help feed New Yorkers experiencing food insecurity. 

But that’s not all we do. We grow the capacity of our partner agencies to help more people, provide nutrition education, strengthen local food systems, advocate for anti-hunger policies, connect volunteers with opportunities to help their neighbors, and more.  

Together, we are feeding our city—one day, one meal, one New Yorker at a time.  

We Are City Harvest

Mission Statement

City Harvest exists to end hunger in communities throughout New York City. We do this through food rescue and distribution, education, and other practical, innovative solutions.

How It All Began

Our first executive director Helen verDuin Palit was out at dinner with friends forty years ago when she was eating potato skins and learned the restaurant threw out the insides of the potatoes. She was struck with an idea: What if the excess food from the restaurant could help feed people  in the neighborhood who were experiencing hunger?  

The next day, the restaurant donated 30 gallons of cooked potatoes that Helen and other volunteers delivered to a nearby soup kitchen. Thanks to Helen, Jason Kliot, and several other New Yorkers, the food rescue movement was born, and with it, City Harvest. 

Since 1982, City Harvest has grown from a small group of volunteers collecting food donations in borrowed cars to the city’s largest food rescue operation, rescuing more than one billion pounds of nutritious food that would have otherwise gone to waste and delivering it for free to New Yorkers in need. Today, our trucks are on the road seven days a week, rescuing millions of pounds of perfectly good, nutritious food and delivering it to our partner food pantries, soup kitchens, Mobile Markets™, and Community Partner Distributions across the city to help feed New Yorkers who are struggling to put meals on their tables.

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