More than 1.3 million New York City residents are food insecure. New York
City’s food insecurity rate is 11% higher than the national rate, and 18%
higher than the New York State rate. The issue is not a lack of food, but a
lack of justice. Many NYC residents must choose between paying rent or
buying food. At our pantry, roughly 75% of our guests are from Hell's
Each month more than 700 persons are provided emergency food
assistance through RMM’s Client-Choice Food Pantry. Each person
receives a 3-day supply of nutritious food staples. RMM not only provides
food, but also seeks to address the issue of food justice. What makes our
pantry especially unique is providing guests with produce grown on our
rooftop. Many pantries have difficulty providing fresh produce, and our
rooftop farm provides the opportunity to not only have food fresh from a
farm but also to foster discussion on where food comes from.
As a client choice pantry, we let our guests take whatever foods they
need. We understand that people have different tastes, preferences,
allergies, and dietary restrictions. Instead of making assumptions about
what foods are “best” for someone, we allow our visitors to explore their
relationship with food in whatever way is most beneficial for them.
The late autumn and winter months are often the busiest for the RMM
food pantry program. The Saturday before Thanksgiving set a record for
attendance that no volunteer had seen surpassed, as we welcomed and
distributed food to 116 guests. On this day alone we gave out enough
food to feed 300 members of our community. We continue to serve
between 70 and 85 individuals each weekend, and fed approximately
650 people in the month of December.
Our pantry is always looking for extra volunteers and support. With
the Hell’s Kitchen Farm Project closed for the winter, this is a great way to
familiarize yourself with RMM’s food justice programming. In addition to
volunteering, we welcome donations of food and plastic bags, and
would love to hear from anyone who can provide connections to other
resources such as SNAP benefits, health insurance enrollment, or financial
planning. Any and all help is appreciated, and your support is what
makes our pantry the vibrant and impactful resource that it is!