City Harvest and Met Council on Jewish Poverty are pleading for $25 million in emergency state food aid, warning a tenuous network of volunteer food pantries, generous food suppliers and cash-strapped non-profits will falter without assistance.

“Our most vulnerable, the homebound are impoverished elderly, are more vulnerable than ever. We need emergency funding to continue our emergency food distributions so that we can keep New Yorkers fed and healthy during this crisis” said David Greenfield, CEO of Met Council on Jewish Poverty, the largest distributor of free kosher food in America.

Each organization is seeking $5 million is crisis funding and is requesting funding for other key organizations during this crisis.

“We are on the front lines to keep New Yorkers fed during this public health emergency. It is imperative the State of New York provide urgent funding of at least $25 million for the food banks in the epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic. Today.” said Jilly Stephens, CEO of City Harvest.

At City Harvest, more than 20% of agency food partners are shuttered. There is a 91% increase in trucking demand with a 5% decrease in trucking supply, straining food distribution networks. Meanwhile, with growing unemployment, the need for food is skyrocketing- more than twice as many people are showing up for City Harvest food distributions.

At Met Council, suppliers are canceling orders for thousands of pounds of produce. The wholesale prices of food package staples like eggs are increasing by 180% or more. Met Council hired emergency temporary staff to replace volunteers and staff—and needs more drivers than ever because mass distribution to the impoverished elderly is no longer feasible

“We are determined to keep faith with the Family of New York,” pledged Stephens of City Harvest and Greenfield of Met Council. The two organizations wrote to state leaders Wednesday, also urging additional funding for Catholic Charities, the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York and Long Island Cares.

Thirty-two of the state’s lawmakers have already signed on in support of the request. The state’s budget is currently under negotiation and must be resolved within the next five days.



Met Council is America’s largest Jewish charity serving the needy with ten different departments dedicated to helping over 225,000 New Yorkers each year. Free programs range from 100% affordable housing at 21 locations across New York to domestic violence services to Holocaust survivor assistance to senior programming to the largest free kosher food distribution program in the world.


City Harvest is New York City’s largest food rescue organization, helping to feed the nearly 1.2 million New Yorkers who are struggling to put meals on their tables. We will rescue 66 million pounds of food this year and deliver it, free of charge, to hundreds of soup kitchens, food pantries, and other community partners across the five boroughs. Our programs empower individuals through nutrition education, increase our partners’ capacity, and strengthen the local food system, helping New Yorkers who are experiencing food insecurity to access, afford, and consume nutritious food. To learn more about our work, visit

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