It's a busy scene inside a one-time supermarket on 14th Street, as volunteers pack up boxes with fresh produce destined for folks who desperately need it. The old Associated Grocery Store that closed last year at Stuyvesant Town is now known as the Stuy Town Pantry.
What You Need To Know
- The effort is a partnership between Blackstone, the owner of Stuyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village, their management company Beam Living, and Food Rescue Organization City Harvest.
- Stuy Town Pantry gets deliveries of fresh produce from City Harvest and repacks in boxes to deliver to residents in Stuy Town, Peter Cooper Village, and other developments around the city.
- City Harvest says 85 percent of the nearly 400 food pantries and soup kitchens they serve in the five boroughs are asking for more food.
"It's really quite incredible, about 200,000 pounds of groceries have gone through here,” said Kelly Vohs, CEO of Beam Living, which manages Suyvesant Town and Peter Cooper Village.
Stuy Town Pantry is a partnership between Blackstone, owner of Stuy Town and Peter Cooper Village, the sprawling apartment complexes between 14th and 23rd streets on the East Side of Manhattan, Beam Living, their management company, and the food rescue organization City Harvest. Beam repurposed much of its construction team for the effort during the COVID-19 shutdown. Around 150 residents are volunteering here too.
"People need this, you know it's absolutely necessary so I feel honored to be able to help,” said Jeff Lazar, a Stuy Town resident since 1995 who is volunteering.
Beam leased trucks to make deliveries and City Harvest helped them get a 53-foot trailer to park outside and use as a refrigeration system.
We followed a truck to the city housing authority's Baruch Houses on the Lower East Side where the boxes of produce will be delivered to apartments throughout the complex.
"We have residents who are homebound, can't come out, can't do the long lines at the supermarket, so this literally saves lives," said Camille Napolean, Vice President of the Baruch Houses Tenants Association.
City Harvest agrees, saying the need for emergency food has skyrocketed since the pandemic began. " 85 percent of the nearly 400 food pantries and soup kitchens City Harvest serves are asking for more food," said Rosanna Robbins, Director of Food Access and Network Capacity for City Harvest.
Robbins says even as things gradually open up more in the city, the organizations they are working with see the need for food isn't going away, so they will keep going as long as lines are forming outside the doors of the organizations they work with.