West Side Campaign Against Hunger Provides Food with Dignity

by Justin Taylor

What they do: West Side Campaign Against Hunger (WSCAH) is one of the largest food pantries in New York City. They provide emergency food assistance to individuals and families who struggle to meet their food needs.

How they do it: They offer people fresh fruits, fresh vegetables, whole grains, protein, and dairy in their supermarket-style pantry, where visitors can choose the food that is best for them, thus serving their community with dignity. They also offer a Chef Training Program as well as various social services to connect customers to benefits and other community resources. They recently launched a Mobile Food Pantry which has already exceeded its annual goal for food distribution in the first two quarters of this fiscal year. By offering such a wide range of services, West Side Campaign Against Hunger does more than feed the hungry – they work to address the root causes of hunger and help to improve the health and well-being of their community.

Mission: “Through a supermarket-style food pantry, West Side Campaign Against Hunger alleviates hunger and creates a culture that promotes self-reliance and works for change.”

Latest project/campaign:  West Side Campaign Against Hunger’s Mobile Food Pantry works in partnership with community-based organizations, health centers, senior centers, and religious institutions to create new access points for healthy food, including fresh fruits and vegetables. The Mobile Food Pantry targets communities within Northern Manhattan and the Bronx where healthy food access is least available, and in areas with the highest rates of poverty. The program was developed using the USDA MyPlate standards to ensure all five food groups were available to each customer, while giving each shopper choices within each food group, adhering to WSCAH’s supermarket style, customer-choice model.

Major funding: New York State (HPNAP), United Way (EFSP), Manhattan Borough President (DFTA), City Council (HRA), Achelis Bodman Foundation, Lily Auchincloss Foundation, Bank of America, Columbia Community Service, Frances Lear Foundation, Helmsley Charitable Trust, Mazon, Robin Hood, Single Stop, Christ St. Stephens Episcopal, Brick Presbyterian, West End Presbyterian, West End Collegiate Church, Congregation Rodeph Sholom, Congregation Emmanuel, Bloomberg LP, Con Edison, Morgan Stanley, Tiffany & Co.

Profit/Nonprofit: Nonprofit

 $4,158,616

Last year they distributed nearly 1.5 million pounds of food (including 300,000+ pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables) to over 18,000 hungry New Yorkers and this year will provide even more via their new Mobile Food Pantry.

FACT SHEET:

Location:

263 West 86th Street

New York, NY 10024

Core Programs: 

1. Supermarket-style Food Pantry
2. Social Services – Counselors help with access to health care, financial relief, food, SNAP, WIC, School Meals, Senior Meals, Food Pantries, Soup Kitchens, and other help/support.
3. Wellness – They offer exercise classes and nutrition workshops.
4. Chef Training Program – Empowers people to become self-reliant and helps prepare them for work in the food industry – a 12 week program to prepare healthy meals for families and provides job-readiness skills; class meets 12-4pm, 4 times per week.
5. Partner Services – Through key partnerships with not-for-profit organizations and government agencies they offer services such as assistance with filing taxes, job training flu vaccination, and HIV testing.
6. Mobile Food Pantry – The Mobile Food Pantry partners with community-based organizations, community health centers, offices of elected officials, senior centers and faith-based institutions to create new access points to local and seasonal fresh produce, healthy food, social services, and nutrition education for individuals living in areas with high rates of poverty and low access to healthy food.

Number of staff: 22

Number of volunteers: N/A 

Area served: 

  • Bronx
  • Brooklyn
  • Manhattan
  • Staten Island
  • Queens

Year Started: 1993

Founder/chair: Chef Greg Silverman

Contact Information: 

[email protected]

(212) 362-3662

Photo credit: West Side Campaign Against Hunger

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