Food Rescue & Delivery

As City Harvest marks 40 years since we helped start the food rescue movement, we will collect 75 million pounds of good, nutritious food this year from farms, restaurants, grocers, and manufacturers to help feed the millions of New Yorkers struggling to make ends meet.

Food rescue is the process of safely recovering excess food and distributing it to people in need. In the United States, up to 40% of the food we produce is wasted. Much of this food is perfectly good and healthy to consume. By redirecting that food to our neighbors in need, we are fighting hunger through food rescue. Check out tips for reducing food waste in your home.

How Do We Do It?

We have a fleet of 23 refrigerated trucks that are on the road seven days a week, picking up food from nearly 2,000 generous food donors. We deliver this food, free of charge, to nearly 400 soup kitchens, food pantries, and other community food programs.

We rescue and deliver more than 200,000 pounds of food each day. Since our founding 40 years ago, we have rescued and delivered more than one billion pounds of food to help feed New Yorkers experiencing food insecurity.

What effect does food rescue have on the environment?  

With as much as 40% of the food produced in the U.S. going to waste each year, there is plenty of food to help feed every New Yorker experiencing food insecurity.    

With every pound of food City Harvest redirects to a family that needs it, we are also working to reduce food waste, a key contributor to climate change. When food goes to a landfill, it produces methane gas – a greenhouse gas at least 28 times more potent than carbon dioxide. Wasted food is the single biggest material placed in municipal landfills, according to the US EPA. And municipal landfills are one of the biggest contributors of human-related methane in the country, accounting for more than 14% of all such emissions.  

We recently ran an analysis of City Harvest’s emission footprint and found that by rescuing 132,000,000 pounds of food last year—including 93 million pounds of fresh produce—together we stopped the equivalent of 42,000,000 kilograms of CO2 from entering the atmosphere. That’s roughly equal to taking 10,000 cars off the road for the entire year. Or the same as planting 2,000,000 trees! And those numbers even take into account any emissions that result from transporting all that food. 

Learn more in the video below.

Kosher Food Rescue

In 1999, we began our kosher food rescue program, which addresses the dietary needs of the more than 500,000 Jewish New Yorkers living below or near the poverty line. To date, we have collected and delivered more than 73 million pounds of food to 25 kosher community food programs across the city.