Hour Children: NYC Food Based Community Organization Spotlight

by Cameron St. Germain

What they do: Hour Children is a non-sectarian, not-for-profit agency located in Long Island City that focuses on providing comprehensive services to incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their families. They are a leading provider of prison- and community-based programs that support these women and their families as they work to transform their lives and achieve self-sufficiency.

How they do it: To accomplish their mission, Hour Children provides compassionate and comprehensive services and encourages all to live and interact with dignity and respect.

Mission: Hour Children’s mission is to help incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their children successfully rejoin the community, reunify with their families, and build healthy, independent, and secure lives.

Latest project/campaign: Our 30th Anniversary Gala takes place on November 6th. We have also recently expanded our Teen Scene program from one evening per week to five days per week.

Major Funding: Food Bank NYC, City Harvest, National Grid Foundation, HPNAP, WellCare, Merck Foundation, Levitt Family Foundation, Laurie Tisch Illumination Fund, American Beverage Association

Profit/nonprofit: Nonprofit

Annual Budget: $4,100,000

Interesting fact about how they are working to positively affect the food system: Hour Children’s client-choice Food Pantry provides food to about 9000 people each year. With support from Just Food and United Way, the Hour Children food pantry serves as a Local Produce Link site (connecting local farmers to pantries operating in underserved NYC neighborhoods). As a result, hundreds of pounds of fresh, organic vegetables are distributed to our clients each summer and fall. The pantry hosts monthly cooking demonstrations from organizations including Just Food, Food Bank of NYC, and City Harvest.



  • 36-11 12th St.
  • Long Island City, NY 11106

Core Programs:

  • Food related: Pantry, CSA, cooking workshops, SNAP screening.
  • Community-based programs include: transitional and permanent supportive housing; a comprehensive employment training and placement program; case management and therapeutic services; pre- and post-release adult mentoring; mentoring for children with incarcerated parents; child care that includes a fully-licensed daycare center and an after-school program that enables mothers to go to work or school, three thrift shops; a teen program, and a community food pantry.
  • In-prison programming includes: transportation and visitation services; parenting education; mental health support for women, children and families; a Teen Program; advocacy; and a residential Nursery unit. Services are provided at the Bedford Hill Correctional Facility, the Taconic Correctional Facility, as well as at Riker’s Island.

Number of staff: 60

Number of volunteers: More than 200. Excitingly, the pantry volunteers, of which there are a few dozen, were named “Queens People of the Week” on Friday, August 4th.

Areas Served:

  • Bronx
  • Brooklyn
  • Manhattan
  • Staten Island
  • Queens

Year Started: 1986

Founder: Sister Tesa Fitzgerald

Contact Information:

(718) 433-4724

Photo Credit: Hour Children

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