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Achievements & Awards
Advocacy and Policy Program Area
- Organized community members into Food Action Boards. The FABs have engaged in leadership development trainings to become advocates and organizers for food justice in their neighborhoods; shared their experiences and engaged in dialogue with key non-profit leaders and advocates at a National Annual Hunger Conference in Washington, DC; met with USDA Under Secretary Kevin Concannon to discuss their experiences in obtaining SNAP benefits in NYC; participated in a press event at city hall to kick-off a SNAP/food stamps access survey; and collected over 200 letters to send to elected officials about the importance of Child Nutrition Reauthorization.
- Supported the formation of the Food Co-op Alliance of NYC, a network of 13 co-operatives grocery stores and buying clubs working to provide high quality, low cost food to NYC neighborhoods. Through the Food Co-Op Alliance of NYC, NYCCAH helped write a major USDA Community Food Projects grant with the Alliance to support food co-op development and provide small grants for startup stores.
- The Interfaith Voices Against Hunger Program (IVAH) led a group of nonprofit organizations to sponsor and organize an informational forum for NYC mayoral, public advocate, and comptroller candidates to discuss issues of Hunger, Housing, and Poverty. Panelists answered questions about living wages, food access, the application process for SNAP/food stamps, and what the candidates intended to do when they were elected into office to end hunger, homelessness, and poverty in NYC.
- IVAH also presented “The Politics of Food” at the Faith Leaders for Environmental Justice Breakfast and held a press event at City Hall alongside NYFJ and UFCW Local 1500, to call for a just and sustainable food system and kick off a day of justice.
- Assisted in planning the 2009 Food and Climate Summit hosted by Manhattan Borough President’s Office and Just Food.
- As part of Good Food, Good Jobs Coalition, worked for the past year and half to support the implementation of the city Food Retail Expansion to Support Health (FRESH) Initiative which supplies financial and zoning incentives to supermarkets for locating in low-income communities.
- Participated on the Food Charter Subcommittee within the Manhattan Borough President’s Office, which created a Food Pledge and Charter for NYC.
- As a member of the NYC Alliance for Child Nutrition Reauthorization, coordinated and made three Congressional visits to representatives of NYC to discuss funding for school meals, after-school snacks, enhancing program participation, pushing for a higher per-meal reimbursement rate, and enhance nutrition education within the next Child Nutrition Reauthorization.
- Testified before the New York City governmental bodies on increasing access to healthy food throughout New York, on financial and zoning incentives to supermarkets opening in ‘food deserts’ throughout New York, and separately on the importance of supporting supermarket expansion throughout New York, on policy changes needed to end hunger in NYC, including increased access to SNAP/food stamps, increasing the breakfast-in-the-classroom pilot program within NYC public schools, expanding outreach for WIC and Summer Meals programs, and increased support for emergency food providers.
- Surveyed over 250 emergency food providers throughout New York Cityfor our annual report titled “NYC Hunger Catastrophe Avoided (For Now)” highlighting the success of the stimulus package in assisting pantries and kitchens in a time of rising need.
Helping New Yorkers Access Food
- Successfully expanded a collaborative Farm Fresh Produce Project in West Harlem, Long Island City, and Flatbush increasing the consumption of fresh, New York State-grown produce in targeted neighborhoods, enabling low-income residents to obtain the produce for free and/or with their food stamp benefits – and enabling other residents to purchase the produce at market rates. This effort is reducing hunger, promoting economic self-sufficiency, improving nutrition, and limiting obesity. In the last year, NYCCAH has coordinated the distribution of over 75,000 lbs of fresh, locally grown produce through this program. Planning also began on a Central Brooklyn CSA for 2010.
- Identified – through the United Way Food Card Access Project and partnerships with citywide organizations including FoodChange - new sites for food stamps pre-screeners to increase food stamp enrollment.
- Screened 703 people for eligibility for the SNAP / Food Stamps Program. Of those that were determined to be eligible, 431 were referred to appointments at one of our 6 Paperless Office System (POS) sites. All of these sites are also community-based Emergency Feeding Providers. NYCCAH personnel assisted clients in the submission of electronic food stamps / SNAP applications.
- Submitted 2070 Food Stamps applications from our 6 CBO POS sites. Of these 2070, approx. 1470, or 71%, were approved to receive benefits.
- Advocated for 182 clients that experienced problems receiving their food stamps benefits in an accurate and timely manner.
- Distributed over 85,000 “Guide(s) to Free Food and Assistance” in 13 communities throughout New York City, containing listings of Emergency Feeding Providers and farmers markets in each neighborhood, and information on obtaining public benefits such as food stamps, WIC, and school and senior meals.
- Distributed over 15,000 pieces of outreach materials, advertising our own pre-screening and POS application services, as well as those of the United Way of NYC’s Food Card Access Project. These materials gave people various options in finding out if they are food stamps eligible and in submitting their applications.
Anti-hunger Capacity Building
- Provided on-site, free of charge technical assistance to hundreds of food pantries and soup kitchens to build programs’ sustainability, impact, and effectiveness. Trainings addressed topics related to development, volunteer management and recruitment, use of communication and marketing, as well as various topics of specific concern.
- Obtained widespread media coverage about the importance of the Food Stamp (now referred to as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, SNAP) and child nutrition programs including coverage by the New York Times, National Public Radio, the British Independent and BBC News, Bloomberg, and the Daily News.
- Recruited a 15-person AmeriCorps*VISTA team and provided 20 AmeriCorps “Direct” members to the New York City Department of Education and Hunger Action Network of New York State to aid in NYCCAH’s Farm Fresh Project CSA and summer meals outreach. In three months, AmeriCorps members recruited 489 volunteers and performed 143 SNAP (food stamps) pre-screenings and 71 Paperless Office System (POS) applications. The VISTA members recruited over 877 unpaid volunteers; obtained $81,695 in funding for pantries and kitchens; and organized networks of pantries and kitchens in 10 different neighborhoods to enable the agencies to collectively harmonize their hours of operation, coordinate their services; and conduct joint projects.
- NYCCAH’s Volunteer Matching Center placed approximately 3,250 volunteers at kitchens and pantries to help meet basic needs such as stocking shelves and serving customers and recruited long-term, professionally skilled volunteers to help kitchens and pantries perform tasks essential to their program development, such as fundraising, computer skills training, graphic design, and accounting, almost three times our goal of 1,100. Over the summer 2009, NYCCAH was a national model for President Obama’s newly launched service initiative, United We Serve, which in just two months recruited over 600 volunteers who have served at New York City soup kitchens and food pantries, provided community outreach for public benefit programs, and committed to providing ongoing professional assistance in the areas of graphic design, accounting, and fundraising.