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Bid Against Hunger in New York

Bid Against Hunger in New York

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City Harvest hosts 18th annual Bid Against Hunger

City Harvest is hosting the 18th annual Bid Against Hunger, a restaurant tasting and auction, at the Metropolitan Pavilion in New York on Tuesday, Oct. 16.

Guests attending the charity event can sample tasting plates prepared by dozens of the city’s restaurants, including Blue Hill, Craft, Landmarc, Le Bernardin, and Tribeca Grill. The auction includes exclusive dinners with top chefs, vacation packages, sports memorabilia, and concert tickets.

Last year's Bid Against Hunger event raised more than $1 million to help City Harvest provide food and more than 4.5 million meals for New York’s hungry.

Ticket prices are $350 to $1,400. VIP tickets include a VIP hour that begins at 6 p.m. and access to a VIP room with a tasting of the region’s best food, passed hors d’oeuvres, and wine.

Lauren Mack is the Travel Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow her on Twitter @lmack.

Every year City Harvest, an organization dedicated to feeding hungry New Yorkers, holds its annual Bid Against Hunger restaurant tasting event. This year marked its 19th Annual celebration, which was held at the Metropolitan Pavilion. As always, the event hosts an amazing array of chefs, restaurants, wineries and more in a walk-around tasting and auction format. During the event there were both live and silent auctions — most notable was the exciting live auction of one dozen Cronuts, which fetched an outstanding $14,000! The amazing evening ended up raising $1.3 million dollars for City Harvest!

Check out some of our favorite bites below:

Mad Mac Macarons: Obviously we couldn’t resist trying one of Florian Bellanger and Ludovic Augendre’s famous macarons. And yes, they lived up to the hype. They were perfectly delicious, soft and flavorful. We loved both the pistachio and almond macarons.

Hybird: Probably one of the most unusual bites of the evening was ‘Puff the Magic Biscuit,” by Questlove and Stephen Starr. This tiny, macaron-like edible was filled with liquid nitrogen, so the moment you bite in, you start smoking at the mouth…literally. It didn’t taste like much, but it was fun to eat!

Strip House: Naturally, they served some kick ass steak. Specifically, smoked Snake River Farms Wagyu strip with soy caramel, butternut squash, mostarda and black radish. It was medium rare, tender and delicious.

Butcher Bar: As you can tell, we like our red meat. Butcher Bar served some killer mini burgers we loved the Stacy Burger, topped with cheddar, onion, tomato, lettuce and pickle. It was juicy and packed a punch!

Tribeca Grill: This Manhattan restaurant served up smoked ricotta ravioli with short rib bolognese. Can it get any better than that? Obviously not, we loved it.

How It Works

Customers shop based on household size and are given a point card based on the number of family members. The card specifies the amount of cereals, fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy customers can shop for, but gives them the choice to pick the kind they prefer. The point card is based on the USDA MyPlate, ensuring our customers receive the items necessary to make balanced, nutritious meals.

Customers can shop once a month and get nutritious food for their family for three days. We understand that everyone has different tastes and needs, so we offer a healthy variety of food for any dietary restrictions. There are always fresh fruit and vegetable choices as we ensure to keep our shelves stocked with fresh produce.

Bid Against Hunger in New York - Recipes

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Click here to read Executive Director Greg Silverman’s testimony on making necessary changes to EFAP before the New York City Council.

Click here to read the letter WSCAH wrote in collaboration with other emergency feeding organizations on the allocation of city funds for COVID-19.

Our partner services are currently not operating on site due to safety protocols as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. Please note all social services are by appointment only. Please call 212-362-3662 ext. 126 or email [email protected] to set up an appointment.

How We’ve Adapted

WSCAH Thank You

Specific Inquiries

Main Phone: (212) 362-3662
Donations: (646) 385-0748
Volunteering: (646) 484-0371
Social Services & SNAP (Food Stamps): (212) 362-3662 ext. 126

Hours of Operation

For prompt service, arrive at least ½ hour before closing time!

86th Street Market hours

Please note our hours of operation in light of COVID-19.

Social Services Virtual Hours

Our department has transitioned to operate virtually. Please email [email protected] or call 212-362-3662 ext. 126 for assistance.

Clothing Closet
WSCAH’s Clothing Closet is closed until further notice.


West Side Campaign Against Hunger
Church of St. Paul & St. Andrew
Basement Level
263 West 86th Street
New York, NY 10024

Telephone: 212-362-3662
Fax: 212-769-4341
Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @wscah
Instagram: @wscah_


West Side Campaign Against Hunger alleviates hunger by ensuring that all New Yorkers have access with dignity to a choice of healthy food and supportive services.

Jimmy Carter's Appeal‐

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 23—Anybody who still doesn't understand the nearly mystical appeal of Jimmy Carter to the American people in 1976 should have been at the West Shore Senior Citizens Center in New Cumberland Township near here today. To a packed house of several hundred Pennsylvanians in the center's recreation hall, Mr. Carter spoke of three recent national traumas as follows:

Vietnam: “We killed hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese—little babies and children and mothers and fathers. But we never really wanted to fight over there, without quite knowing why. The people were not part of the process.”

Watergate: “We trusted [Richard Nixon] in 1972. . . . Watergate came about because we were not told the truth. We were not part of what the Government became.”

C.I.A. Activities: “I wouldn't plot murder. You wouldn't plot murder. So why should our Government plot murder?”

Mr. Carter's audience was rapt throughout these formulations, except for a few heads nodding sagely. The proverbial pin might have been heard dropping, as the candidate told in all these ways that there was nothing wrong with them, that he understood what he called the “hunger in this country to get back those precious things we've lost.”

Here, as in New Hampshire last winter and all the primaries between, Mr. Carter, more effectively than anyone else in the race, is telling the people what they seem desperately to want to hear—that they are not to blame for what has been happening in the country, that what is really needed is “a government as good as our people.”

And not many politicians ever made a basically political appeal with more fervor than Mr. Carter did when he suggested to a youthful audience in the Albright College chapel in Reading that each might make a hundred phone calls asking people to vote — not necessarily for him—in the primary Tuesday.

“Don't sit back or be disillusioned or whine or complain, or give up on our country,” he implored the young people.

“We've got a great country. It needs you and you need a good government.”

What Mr. Carter needs, however, is big turnout Tuesday to help him overcome the labor vote union leaders have pledged to deliver for Senator Scoop Jackson.

None of this is meant to support the charge that Mr. Carter ducks or straddles the issues, or shifts his positions with the political weather. Mr. Car ter's policy statements—like the‐one just issued on economic policy—le as specific as anyone's, and malt thoughtful than most. A man who said in the New York primary that he did not favor most forms of Federal aid to New York City, and who took on George Wallace in North Florida and eastern North Carolina as well as in Harlem, ought to have persuaded critics at least of his political boldness.

But the Carter campaign, more them any other, is based on the premise that, this year, issues matter less than the American psyche—that the way to win is to persuade the people that “precious things” like truth and brotherhood and idealism and pride in the

country can yet be regained. MrCarter seems to have made the restoration of the people's faith in themselves his primary campaign strategy.

The record so far suggests how politically astute that judgment waa: But there are troublesome questions,about it, nonetheless. Is it really truer

for example, that “a government its good as the people” would have avoided Vietnam and Watergate? bid. cold‐war fever and public fear of rest and dissent have nothing to,do with them?

A political campaign may not be the time to call for sacrifice, or even the long view as against immediate. interest, but such a time would surely, come for a Carter in the White House._ It seems reasonable to ask whether,.

he would not then find it harder, to overcome the greed and Prejudice gild’

passion and indifference of a people’ he has so assured of their essential righteousness.

And although Mr. Carter is certainly not saying there are no real problems —quite the opposite—his emphasis on the basic goodness of the country may not lay the best groundwork for the real political and economic struggles that await a leader who sets out to ‘do something more than cosmetic about those problems. Will the Carter campaign engender a public mood of struggle and concern, or one of complacency?

Finally, could Jimmy Carter or anyone keep his end of the bargain ‐if elected, and never lie, never mislead, never betray the people's confideace.. while restoring the “precious things, of the American myth? The questio'n reflects Mr. Carter's great appeal to so many but merely to ask it explains the skepticism he evokes in so many others.

THE Dish: Scott Conant's savory Spiced Duck

Besides his chef's hat, Scott wears many others -- he's a cookbook author and TV personality. But while he's got a lot on his plate, he's most widely known as the motivating force behind the Scarpetta brand.

Scott's love affair with food began when he was young -- he started cooking classes at age 11, and later attended the Culinary Institute of America, according to his official bio. After graduating, he studied pastry in Munich, Germany. He then came to New York City to work as a sous chef at San Domenico (a New York Times three-star-rated restaurant).

Scott has penned two cookbooks: "Scott Conant's New Italian Cooking" in 2005, and "Bold Italian" in 2008.


  • 8pc Cinnamon
  • 2T Coriander
  • 2T Fennel
  • 1T Cumin
  • 1T Anise (not star anise)
  • 2t Chili Flake

2. Place in blender and grind to powder

1 Box lentils
2pc Cotechino
3C Shallots Sliced
1-1/2 C Carrots, Diced
1-1/2 C Celery, Diced
Brown Chicken Stock
4cl Garlic cloves
Sachet of thyme and rosemary
1T Duck Spice

Soup Kitchens Struggle to Feed New Yorkers Despite Thanksgiving Donations

A man takes food at a soup kitchen in the Food Bank For New York network. Soup kitchens and pantries have seen "near record level" needs, experts say. View Full Caption

By Della Hasselle and Amy Zimmer

DNAinfo Staff

MANHATTAN — Many soup kitchens and food pantries across the city have been struggling to meet expanding demands while their budgets are shrinking. As they're hopeful about donations for the Thanksgiving holiday, they’re bracing for the possibility of more cuts on the horizon.

The Food Bank for New York, which distributes food to a network of roughly 1,000 local programs citywide, said this summer saw several emergency food providers having to temporarily close their doors. The organization is worried that food assistance could be slashed even more by a special Congressional committee on deficit reduction, which is supposed to vote Wednesday on ways to cut $1.2 trillion from the federal government over 10 years.

“We’ve seen at near record levels [of need],” said Triada Stampas, the Food Bank’s director of government relations. “Certainly the highest we’ve seen in the history of this organization.”

Soup kitchens and food pantries are bearing the brunt of New York’s prolonged 9 percent unemployment rate, with the emergency food system now “addressing chronic need,” she said.

Jewel Jones, director of Inwood's Love Kitchen Inc., said his organization was down to its last supplies in July and would have closed if he hadn’t called the Midwest Food Bank from Illinois to bring a tractor-trailer with food.

"In the 23 years I’ve been here, it's the first time I had come within a week of closing,” Jones said.

The Midwest Food Bank returned this weekend with a delivery for the Love Kitchen's Thanksgiving dinner, which will take place on Wednesday.

Jones said his soup kitchen is feeding 100 people a week, which is 30 more mouths than usual. But the group's annual budget is down $10,000 to $150,000 and its donations have decreased 25 percent since May, from $60,000 to $45,000, he said.

“We’re getting a lot more people now, especially women and children," Jones said. "They’re just coming out of the woodworks."

Whether large or small, food providers are hurting. Chelsea's Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen saw funding from the state's Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program more than halved earlier this year, cut from $330,000 to $150,000. Lines have been growing longer ever day with an average of 1,200 meals served daily. ‬

The demand for emergency food assistance has increased an average of 25 percent since 2008, according to City Harvest, and the Food Bank found that 92 percent of programs in its network reported an increase in demand last year.

A 2010 survey from the New York City Coalition Against Hunger found that half of emergency food providers were not able to meet the demand and had to turn away hungry New Yorkers, cut portion sizes or reduce hours.

The City Council's general welfare committee is holding an oversight hearing on the growing demand for food assistance on Monday, and the New York City Coalition Against Hunger is set to release its 2011 survey on Tuesday.

Rev. Jennifer Linman, at the Church of the Epiphany, at York Avenue and East 74th Street, also said she's been seeing new people coming to her church's Wednesday night dinners.

"My sense is we're having people who've never been here before," she said, noting that average attendance went from 100 to 120, spiking to more than 150 for the last Wednesday in September.

"It was really shocking for us," Linman said of that evening. "Nobody had ever gone away hungry before that night. People left before we were able to feed them."

As the need has increased, the Church of the Epiphany has seen its monthly budget slashed by more than 30 percent from $5,500 to $3,800, Linman said. With rising food costs and declining Food Bank donations, the church has had to cut down on meat, for instance.

But Linman said that private donations have been up over the past year, more than 30 percent from $17,000 to $25,000.

"Our congregation is committed to feeding the poor," Linman said. "Blessedly, I'm in a place where nobody complains about it."

Many soup kitchens and food pantries are hopeful that the holiday season, which is traditionally when donations peak, will be fruitful.

"We're hoping that the donations that come in over the Thanksgiving holiday will make up some of the difference," said Stephen Grimaldi, executive director of the Yorkville Common Pantry, at East 109th street, which is $40,000 over budget for the fiscal year.

Demand has increased by 10 percent, Grimaldi said. Meanwhile, their monthly spending is reaching $60,000 a month, which is $10,000 more than usual.

The Yorkville Common Pantry has also been finding cheaper alternatives to meat, like beans or peanut butter, and finding other ways to cut costs, Grimaldi said.

But if further cuts hit the pantry and donations hit a lull, the future could be bleak. “Even though our motto is to never turn people away, we might have to,” he said.


The Food Bank For New York has a soup kitchen and food pantry locator to help find programs throughout the city. The New York City Coalition Aganist Hunger also has a website to find local food programs.


- Check out the New York City Coalition Against Hunger's Volunteer Matching Center, which helps search volunteer opportunities by neighborhood, nearby subways lines, available times, and personal skills sets, etc.

- Vist New York Care's website, which runs volunteer programs for 1,200 nonprofits, city agencies and public schools.

- Start a virtual food drive for the Food Bank For New York, donate food or volunteer doing anything from serving hot meals at the Community Kitchen in Harlem, packing food at a Bronx warehouse or staffing at fundraising events.

Governor Cuomo Announces New York State to Extend Partnership with HelloFresh to Combat Food Insecurity Amidst the COVID-19 Pandemic

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the New York State Division of Veterans' Services will extend a partnership with HelloFresh, the world's leading meal kit delivery company, to combat food insecurity amid the COVID-19 pandemic. HelloFresh will provide over 200,000 fresh meals to veterans, military families and other residents in New York City who are experiencing food insecurity as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. The program builds on the successful Nourish New York initiative, a multi-agency effort to reduce food insecurity and support food producers during this unprecedented time.

HelloFresh and the New York State Division of Veterans' Services kicked off an initial pilot program in June, providing over 65,000 meals to date to families in New York City.

"The pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity across New York and across this nation and it's the most vulnerable among us that bear the brunt," Governor Cuomo said. "I am proud to see great New York companies taking a stand to help ensure that no family goes hungry and on behalf of New Yorkers - thank you to HelloFresh for its dedication and efforts on this critical mission."

CEO of HelloFresh US Uwe Voss said, "At HelloFresh, we believe that everyone should have access to fresh, healthy food and the ability to share a home-cooked meal with loved ones. We are extremely proud to support Governor Cuomo's efforts by providing nourishing meal kits to veterans and New Yorkers facing hardship during the pandemic."

Each week, volunteers with Black Veterans for Social Justice and The Campaign Against Hunger pack and assemble HelloFresh meal kits consisting of fresh, high-quality ingredients, recipe cards and a bag of fruit - free of charge - to veterans, service members and their families, and other New Yorkers adversely impacted by COVID-19. The meal kits are packed at TCAH's Brooklyn headquarters and distributed, with the help of the NYC Department of Veteran's Affairs, to individuals in New York City who are currently struggling to put healthy, nourishing food on their tables.

Following the success of the initial pilot program, HelloFresh and the State of New York will be extending the program in Brooklyn, providing an additional 150,000 meals to veterans and food insecure families over the next four months.

Food insecurity is high among veterans, service members and their families. The United States Department of Veterans Affairs reports that veterans who served in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are twice as likely to be food insecure compared with the general population, and a 2018 study showed that 1.5 million veterans in the United States lived in a household that relied completely on Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits to supplement their food intake. In New York State alone, according to the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities, 59,000 veterans rely on SNAP benefits to feed themselves and their families — a number that only worsened due to the adverse impacts of COVID-19.

Executive Deputy Director of the New York State Division of Veterans' Services Joel Evans said, "No veteran should ever confront a lack of food for themselves or for their family members. Unfortunately, the medical and financial challenges imposed by COVID-19 have placed too many of our state's heroes and their families in this dangerous position. We commend Governor Cuomo and HelloFresh for devoting resources toward addressing this crucial issue, and offer our utmost thanks to all the veterans and veterans' advocates who have volunteered their time to assist in this necessary effort."

The Campaign Against Hunger Executive Director and Founder Dr. Melony Samuels said, "The Campaign Against Hunger is excited to partner with Hello Fresh to support veterans that have been plunged into food insecurity by COVID-19. Veterans have served our country selflessly, and we now must ensure that their needs are met and centered in any relief efforts. Together, we are ensuring that veterans have access to nutritious food as we navigate these uncertain times in our city and country. I commend Hello Fresh for taking the initiative to ensure that our veterans have what they need to live and thrive."

Black Veterans for Social Justice CEO Wendy McClinton said, "Everything is done for the betterment of the Veteran, their families and the community! Forward Ever, Backwards, never."

Governor Cuomo Announces $4.3 Million in Grants to Reduce Food Waste, Help Hungry New Yorkers and Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced grants totaling more than $4.3 million for 111 projects across the state that will help prevent hunger and reduce the disposal of food waste though food donation and recycling. The grants will support efforts by municipalities and organizations, such as pantries and soup kitchens, to help divert scraps for recycling and reduce the amount of organic waste by redirecting excess, edible food to New Yorkers struggling with food insecurity.

"Wasted food hurts needy families facing the terrible challenges of food insecurity and harms the environment by growing landfills and contributing to climate change," Governor Cuomo said. "These awards are the latest step New York is taking to help local governments and community organizations support smart investments that prevent food waste, reduce greenhouse gas emissions caused by food disposal, and provide nutritious and healthy food to combat hunger across New York State."

Wasted food has significant environmental, social, and economic impacts and these grants help support municipalities and emergency food relief organizations by improving food rescue efforts and diverting food scraps from disposal in landfills. Reducing the landfilling of food scraps is also recognized as a valuable mitigation measure in the state's ongoing fight against climate change. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation will administer the grants.

DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said, "It is a sad fact that Americans waste about 25 percent of the food purchased, leading to negative impacts on our environment and a waste of food resources that could otherwise be used to help people in need. The projects supported by the grants announced today are a combination of public outreach initiatives and innovative, common-sense approaches to promoting food recycling, helping the hungry, and reducing waste to build stronger, healthier, and environmentally sustainable communities."

Municipal Food Scraps Reduction, Food Donation, and Food Scraps Recycling Grants

DEC is awarding a total of $3.28 million in grants to 27 municipal projects that will use innovative and comprehensive approaches to support wasted food prevention and reduction initiatives, streamline food donation and rescue efforts, and/or develop organics recycling programs and facilities. Many projects involve strategic partnerships with community-based organizations to reduce the volume of wasted food and food scraps entering the municipal waste stream. This is accomplished through the development and implementation of wasted food reduction education and outreach programs and by establishing municipal composting and other organics recycling infrastructure. Among the highlights of the municipal grant projects:

  • City of Cortland $195,936: The funding will support the Cortland Food Project Rescue and Waste Prevention, a comprehensive community education campaign focused on wasted food prevention and reduction. The city will develop and implement Cortland's first local food rescue system and volunteer network to seek out large quantities of "past prime" produce that program staff and volunteers will be trained to process into value-added food products. The city will then coordinate with existing local hunger projects, such as food pantries, soup kitchens, and the planned commercial community kitchen and entrepreneurship program to be located at the Homer Avenue Revitalization Project site
  • Town of Ossining $99,145: The town will create a comprehensive food scraps recycling pilot program to serve approximately 38,300 residents and neighboring areas. The town will: purchase collection bins for several public sites, including nearby Environmental Justice communities and for residential home use develop informational materials to include in the kits residents will use in their homes and Teatown Lake Reservation will begin community education events and programming regarding food waste prevention and reduction, composting, and the town-run food scrap recycling program
  • Tompkins County $70,426: The county will address wasted food prevention and food donation by targeting apartment complexes and multifamily units in the county. The project will educate tenants and property managers, focusing on smart shopping, smart storage, and smart food prep site a food hub cooler for sharing excess edible food, with leftover donations going to Friendship Donations Network (FDN) for further distribution throughout the Tompkins County community provide tenants with free toolkits to collect food scraps from their kitchens for composting and develop "kitchen to compost" educational materials and
  • Village of Sleepy Hollow $11,286: The village will develop and launch a comprehensive food scraps recycling program that includes: education efforts and materials that are accessible for all residents, despite income or language barriers create a food scraps recycling program that offers 500 free starter kits (countertop food scraps collection pail and storage bin) to residents for composting and create outreach materials designed to reach all demographics in the village, including Spanish-language translations, and engaging low-income residents and seniors in the participation of the project.

Emergency Food Relief Organization Grants

Food pantries and other local emergency food relief organizations are on the front lines when it comes to helping those in need. These organizations often rely on donations of food through partnerships with local businesses, farms, and other food donors to supplement their inventories of wholesome food. However, as many of these food pantries and organizations are volunteer-run and have limited funds, they often do not have the resources to establish these partnerships or purchase the necessary storage equipment and vehicles to transport donated perishable foods. Due to these challenges, highly nutritious, perishable food that is ready to be distributed to food pantries and soup kitchens — such as fresh produce ­— often goes to waste, despite the efforts of donors and food rescue organizations.

DEC is funding 84 projects with $1.1 million to support projects including: hiring food recovery staff focused on developing donation partnerships purchasing efficient cold storage equipment kitchen equipment to prepared rescued, perishable produce vehicles to transport rescued food and the implementation of hyper-local perishable and prepared food recovery and distribution networks. In addition, several projects include the establishment of nutrition and cooking classes to help them use the food they receive from the pantries most efficiently. These classes and workshops help clients reduce wasted food and stretch limited food budgets. Highlighted grant projects include:

  • Iris House $13,720: Iris House in Central Harlem will use the funds to support efforts to distribute food closer to the residents of East Harlem in New York City. Iris House will use part of the grant funds to cover the operation costs of a van to transport food pantry bag distribution to pop-up locations in East Harlem to save residents the costs of transportation to Central Harlem. Iris House will also develop and distribute brochures about nutrition and to advertise their services and provide information about free food availability
  • Second Chance Foods $15,000: Second Chance Foods is not-for-profit food rescue organization in Carmel, New York, that will use the grant to support the salary of a kitchen manager to process rescued food into cooked meals or prepare parts of meals to donate to local food programs. By processing rescued food such as blemished produce and unfamiliar foods, Second Chance Foods makes more rescued food "usable" by soup kitchen managers and pantry clients, preventing wasted food and increasing the amount of wholesome food available to people
  • Comfort Food of Washington County, Inc. $12,420: Comfort Food Community serves a rural county with limited access to grocery stores and a significant percent of the population in poverty. CFC will hire a seasonal Food Recovery Assistant to improve gleaning efforts at the 35 farms in their service area through volunteer recruitment and management, as well as coordinating and supervising rescue efforts. The Food Recovery Assistant will also work on outreach and education elements of the Fresh Food Collective. CFC will also use these grant funds to dedicate staff time to developing recipe cards and coordinated meal kits for the gleaned produce to help ensure that recipients of the produce are able to use all of it properly and incorporate more nutritious food into their diets and
  • Pitney Meadows Community Farm, Inc. $15,000: Pitney Meadows Community Farm, Inc., is not-for-profit organization in Saratoga Springs dedicated to urban agriculture, farmland conservation, community empowerment, and increasing access to fresh, healthy produce. The farm will install a "Giving Garden" dedicated to growing food for food pantries and will use the grant to hire a farm manager to oversee the Giving Garden and associated donation partnerships construct a wash/pack station to properly prepare freshly harvested vegetables in a safe, reliable, and convenient way and install a walk-in cooler to store food before it is donated to local pantries.

A complete list of awardees/grantees and summaries of projects is available at the DEC website. For more information about how to reduce food waste in all New York households:

New York State has long been committed to the fight against hunger and Governor Cuomo has launched groundbreaking initiatives and programs in recent years, including the Council on Hunger and Food Policy, Vital Brooklyn, and the No Student Goes Hungry initiative to combat hunger, improve access to healthy, locally grown foods, and bring New York-grown foods and beverages to underserved communities. The grants announced today also build upon the success of the 2019 Food Donations and Food Scraps Recycling law signed by the Governor, that requires all designated food scraps generators to first donate edible food to those in need, and secondly, to recycle food scraps if a viable recycling facility is located within 25 miles. In response to this crucial legislation, DEC has provided $800,000 to Feeding New York State for additional resources to handle the anticipated influx of donated food.

Today's grant announcement was made at the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York in Latham, to help prepare New Yorkers for the statewide ban on plastic carryout bags, which begins March 1. DEC, in coordination with Feeding New York State, will distribute reusable bags to food banks across the state as part of DEC's efforts to encourage consumers to bring their own bags whenever and wherever they shop. Feeding New York State helps feed millions of people each year through more than 5,000 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, and other programs.

The BYOBagNY initiative is part of New York's comprehensive outreach campaign with state and local partners to educate retailers and consumers about the plastic bag ban, which will help reduce the scourge of plastic bag waste in the state's environment and communities. New Yorkers use an estimated 23 billion plastic bags annually—each for about 12 minutes—and approximately 85 percent of this staggering total ends up in landfills, recycling machines, waterways, and streets. For more information about the outreach efforts and details of the law's implementation, visit DEC's website.


“Blame it on love. And his mother.”

When most of the tots his age were making messes in the sandbox, pastry genius Ron Ben-Israel preferred to observe his Viennese mother’s culinary magic as she whipped egg whites into frothy meringue or transformed flaky crust into ethereal apple strudel. “I was enchanted,” he gushes. “Watching a fruit reduction become a gelée was fascinating. But I certainly wouldn’t have guessed that the art and science of baking would become my life’s passion.”

Passion, indeed. Ron is fervent when he talks about baking and creating his extraordinary confections. His dedication to his art is both reverent and joyful at once: Each time he fashions a cake—and he’s designed thousands of stunning, one-of-a-kind gateaux in his career—he’s as thrilled as he would be if it were his first masterpiece. As Ron cheerily observes, “Each cake is like a performance—my team and I feel like we are attending countless opening nights every weekend.”

Ron certainly knows about opening nights: A former dancer, he fell in love with a chocolate-maker while on tour in Canada, and with typical resolve, he traded in his ballet slippers for a whisk and a spatula. Fortunately, the discipline he had acquired during years of scrupulous training and a rigorous performance schedule—and during his military service in the Israeli army—helped him as he pursued his new vocation. Like many aspiring chefs, he traveled to France and apprenticed in Cannes, Beaujolais, and Lyons.

Ultimately, New York provided Ron with the most exhilarating and challenging stage for his culinary visions. His artistry has become legendary and he has truly become America’s cake maestro, the wizard and darling of the industry. “I had originally gone to fine art school to study set design, but then dance took over. And now it’s fondant and cake. I am so pleased that the kitchen and I found each other. I’m where I was meant to be.”

And so today, the master confectioner choreographs in sugar. His specialty and wedding creations are consistently featured in national periodicals, including Martha Stewart Weddings, Brides Magazine and New York Magazine and are also prominently highlighted in books, such as Vera Wang on Weddings. Curtain up!”

“A Piece of Perfection!” – Modern Bride Magazine

Ron Ben-Israel Cakes is one of the finest couture cake studios of our times, known for innovative and impeccable creations. Founded by Ron Ben-Israel in 1999, the company’s flagship design studio and bakery called Manhattan’s fashionable SoHo neighborhood home for over 15 years. At the end of 2014, the bakery and studio relocated to a new, expansive location with over 4,500 square feet in the heart of Manhattan’s Garment District.

The collections of trendsetting cakes have been featured in countless books, TV shows, films and publications and can also be spotted in many of New York’s premiere hotels and venues. The bakery received additional acclaim in 2011, when Ron became host and judge of the Food Network’s hit show Sweet Genius for three seasons, which has since been syndicated around the world, as well as a judge for three seasons on the FN’s show Cake Wars as well as several holiday specials.

This journey has allowed the company to position itself as a leader within the industry and to partner with and promote charities such as City Harvest. Ron and his team enjoy sharing their expertise and techniques through demonstrations around the world and they currently host their own classes for students in the company’s studio+bakery. (For more information on classes at Ron Ben-Israel Cakes, please refer to Teaching.)

The upcoming seasons hold many exciting ventures for Ron Ben-Israel Cakes.

“Giving back…is a vital, integral part of Ron’s DNA.”

Giving back to the community is a vital, integral part of Ron’s DNA. He is quick to honor those who have helped him along the way—people like Martha Stewart, who encouraged him as he came up through the ranks. His mentor of all things sugar is Betty Van Norstrand his baking prophetess,
Rose Levy Beranbaum. Ron feels just as compelled to help others and to return to the universe what it has so bountifully brought to him.

He is a committed member of the Food Council of City Harvest, honored to be a member of this prestigious group of chefs and restaurateurs. City Harvest collects more than 28 million pounds of excess food from countless food-industry sources and distributes it—free of charge—to nearly 600 community agencies, which in turn, help feed over a quarter-million hungry New Yorkers each week.

Ron actively participates in the organization’s fund-raising events such as Bid Against Hunger, an annual, sold-out culinary extravaganza, and Generation Harvest’s Summer in the City. Additionally, he encourages clients who might want a cake that is really too grand for their actual number of guests, to allow a donation—in their names—of the additional cake to City Harvest, a fulfilling way to share the happiness of an occasion with those less fortunate.

Ron is also active in LAMBDA Legal’s Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., which fights for full civil rights for gays and lesbians, including the right to marry. Ron looks forward to the day that all people will be able to embrace their full rights under the law.

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