1 out of every 5 residents in America’s largest City needs an Emergency feeding program

Food Bank for New York City. Hunts Point, Bronx NY Warehouse

The Hunger problem is real. For this example, the subject is New York City. Mostly children, older adults, seniors, and women. But we could easily be talking about from wherever you are reading this. Add quite a few of working New Yorkers also to hunger that list. In many cases, working multiple jobs, but still can’t make ends meet.

The large motorized fork-lifts, each operated by one driver, carefully but quickly maneuver in and out of the back of the tracker trailer trucks. They are moving at a rapid pace, of a forklift in-and-out every 30 seconds, unloading crates and crates of boxed food. Everything from produce and fresh fruits to protein and chicken. We are at a huge warehouse in the Hunts Point Section of the Bronx, New York. The Food Bank for New York City operates this hub in this industrial area. The Food is destined to locations all around the big apple.

A man by the name of Francisco Tezen is the Vice President for the Food Bank for New York. Mr. Tezen’s father is Peruvian, and Francisco’s smile is contagious. His background is fundraising for Ivy League Schools, like Columbia University. Like myself, he’s a native New Yorker, mostly from Brooklyn and Manhattan. My home borough is the Bronx. Each day at least 16 tractor trailers are loaded and unloaded from here. After feeling like we were in a B.J’s or Costco, I asked Mr. Tezen about the facility.

I had to stop him there: 120 Meals per minute?

But to get the food properly packaged and then shipped out, the process requires a lot of people. The Food Bank for New York City as Mr. Tezen stated functions via upwards of 800 volunteers every week. And of course, via public donations. I continued our interview, and said: “Wow. So talk to me about the fundraising dollars, if your able to receive X amount, how many people your able to feed with that?”

Food Bank for NYC Vice President Francisco Tezen and Newsman Dominic Carter

So is it fair to say that this facility is like a Supercenter”

The Food Bank for New York City has 1,000 Partner Organizations. They are the ones that actually interact with the public for the most part. They are

-Food Pantries

-Soup Kitchens

-Shelters and Schools

We toured the facility….even going into the huge refrigerator, which was so cold that I didn’t have the heart to take the next step and go into the freezer. The financial need for Food Pantries is one that is year round. How difficult is it to keep up with the demand this time of year? (Thanksgiving, Christmas)

You can see the fresh Pears and Apples

It’s only natural to think about with Government, budget cuts and so on, some years are more challenging than others for such agencies. What the situation this year?

Food Bank for NYC Vice President Francisco Tezen

I never actually thought about one of the dilemmas for such a large organization. Getting the food in, but then getting it out to 1,000 different sources. It’s a huge undertaking.

I asked: “I want to make sure I got this right. So….part of your demand is getting the food, but then part of demand and mandate is getting the food distributed?”

Food Bank for New York City

I was blown away at what such a huge undertaking this is daily. I said to Mr. Tezen: “So just one more time. Everyday there are 16 to 17 tractor trailer moving food?” “Moving food around those member-charities across the city, throughout the five boroughs.” He said. 1,000 charities? “That’s right.” Mr. Tezen stated. I have served food at a so-called Soup Kitchen before. It was a full and complete hot meal. But in this example, is there a typical meal? Let’s be honest.

The experience of not having food is humiliating for most of us. It shouldn’t be.

Therefore Food Kitchens need to change the negative connotation of needing help with food. I was deeply impressed that with the Food Bank For New York City, you’re actually going shopping. It’s a big difference

“There not necessarily a typical meal I would say, but what I would say is that Food Bank for New York City is emphasising and focusing, ensuring that we are providing nutritious and balanced meals. So if you were to visit our community kitchen in West Harlem, what would you see? You would enter the facility, and be greeted by a smiling face in a volunteer, and helping you navigate, and essentially a shopping experience in our pantry. On the left…you’d find baskets of fresh produce. it might be onions, carrots, apples, pears. As we, sort of navigate there would be whole wheat Pasta, that’s been generously donated to us by a partner, like Barilla Produce donated to us by a partner. We have a freezer area where you would be able to find meats. It might be Pork, it might be Fish, might be chicken. And there are also recipes that we provide to clients that are visiting with us. so perhaps there’s something you may not have seen, or may not be as familiar with, we are going to provide tools and resources for you to understand how you might be able to incorporate it into your diet.” Francisco Tezen, Food Bank for NY Vice President

So 16–17 tractor-trailers a day, so how many people are you feeding everyday? You have 1,000 partner organizations, so at the end of the day how many people are you approximately feeding everyday?

How did Mr. Tezen feel on a personal level. I said to him that he was very professional. But how did he feel on a personal level, being responsible for this massive undertaking?

What can I do?

What action can I take?

What difference can i make?

Many of us are only one crisis away from completely going under. The Food Bank for New York City is giving dignity to fellow human beings at a very difficult time, a time of need. I tip my hat not just to the organization, but to the weekly 800 volunteers that step up. There is never anything wrong with declaring you need help in one capacity or another.

Dominic Carter is a TV Political Commentator and WABC Talk Radio host in NY. Dominic is a Keynote Speaker on Children issues, Foster Care, and Mental Illness.

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