FreshDirect—in partnership with the city of New York and the five New York City borough presidents—has extended Operation 5-Borough Food Drive, a citywide food initiative to help New York families in need and combat food insecurity in New York City, through September. To date, this initiative has distributed 4.3 million pounds of food to neighbors in need, while creating nearly 40 full-time jobs, reports Bronx-based FreshDirect.
In March, as a direct response to the COVID-19 pandemic, FreshDirect developed and launched Operation 5-Borough Food Drive in partnership with the five borough presidents to help solve the increase in food insecurity in New York City. The collaboration has allowed FreshDirect to donate and distribute over 215,000 boxes of food, with the Borough presidents directing the donations to partner institutions in each of their communities.
As the pandemic continues, FreshDirect and New York City saw the need to continue the program. New York City has paid $5 million for the 4.3 million pounds of food thus far, and the extension through September will bring the total contract value to about $9 million. FreshDirect said it is committed to purchasing, packaging and delivering the food at no profit to the company.
“Food insecurity in New York City has almost doubled since the beginning of the COVID-19 crisis,” said FreshDirect CEO David McInerney in a release. “There has never been a more important time to continue our Operation 5-Borough Food Drive together with the city and the Borough presidents. As a food company, we want to do everything we can to provide healthy, fresh food to those in need, especially during such a challenging time for so many.”
The program consists of weekly (Monday through Friday) deliveries of thousands of grocery boxes. The packages arrive by FreshDirect vehicles to locations designated by each of the Borough presidents and their offices. Most of the items in the box are shelf-stable and will provide some relief to families who lack immediate access to food.
“During this crisis, our partnership with FreshDirect has been one of the key ways we’ve provided New Yorkers with access to fresh fruits and vegetables,” added Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, who oversees the FreshDirect partnership in her capacity as the city’s COVID-19 food czar. “This program has allowed the Borough presidents to get nutritious food to people who need it across the city, and I’m glad we are able to support its continuation into the fall.”