August 3, 2020
NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray today announced an expansion of the Food For Heroes program to deliver more than 71,000 meals to staff at local non-profit nursing homes and Department of Sanitation (DSNY) garages in all five boroughs.
"New Yorkers on the frontline of the crisis are working around the clock to take care of our families, neighbors and friends," said Mayor Bill de Blasio. "Their effort has knitted this city together in our time of need, and we'll take every chance – big and small – to thank them for their service."
"As the COVID-19 pandemic persists, the City's frontline workers bravely report to work and risk their personal health to keep their fellow New Yorkers safe," said First Lady Chirlane McCray. "We hope these meals will help fuel our essential workforce as they continue caring for our communities."
Managed by the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City, Food For Heroes launched in April to support New Yorkers working on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. In its first month, 75,000 meals were served to staff members at Elmhurst Hospital. In May, the program expanded to deliver lunches to Office of the Chief Medical Examiner staff at temporary disaster field sites, as well as hotels housing out-of-state medical personnel and healthcare workers who were self-isolating away from vulnerable family members at home. By September, Food For Heroes will have provided 169,400 meals to New Yorkers.
This week, Food For Heroes began deliveries to 75 new locations across the city as part of the expansion, serving non-profit nursing home employees and sanitation workers who have been vital to the daily functioning of New York City despite the challenges and increased risks presented by the pandemic.
The deliveries--consisting of pre-made, individually packaged lunches--will be made twice a week to each location for three weeks and are made possible with the help of half-a-dozen businesses and organizations across the city who are using their facilities and staff. Non-profit Frontline Foods, with the help of World Central Kitchen, is donating several rounds of meals throughout Staten Island and working with local restaurants to deliver meals in the Bronx; innovative salad company Chopt Creative Salad Co. is donating salads to workers at a non-profit nursing home in Manhattan; Promobile Kitchen is preparing and delivering the meals, in addition to providing logistical support for deliveries in three boroughs; non-profit Food1st Foundation is working with local restaurants to provide meals; and Mendy's and Fresko are providing Kosher meals for several locations.
Food For Heroes is a program of the Mayor's Fund COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, which has raised more than $55 million for vulnerable New Yorkers impacted by the pandemic including: healthcare workers and essential staff; local small businesses; displaced hourly workers, including immigrant workers; and families, youth, and other vulnerable New Yorkers. Visit nyc.gov/fund to learn more.
"The City owes a huge debt of gratitude to our nursing home staff and sanitation workers," said J. Phillip Thompson, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. "At the height of the pandemic, these essential workers cared for the most vulnerable New Yorkers and kept our City running. I applaud the Mayor's Fund for establishing the Food for Heroes program, and hope our essential workers know we are grateful for their service."
"Nursing home staff are the too often unsung heroes of our healthcare system, and our sanitation workers have shown us from the beginning of the pandemic how much they deserve their nickname, 'New York's Strongest.' Their service helped keep New Yorkers safe and we are proud to expand Food for Heroes to thank them," said Peter Hatch, COVID-19 Public-Private Partnerships Czar. "We are grateful to our meal delivery partners and the many neighborhood restaurants that are contributing to this important effort."
"I've always known Sanitation Workers are essential, and I want to thank the Mayor's Fund for recognizing that fact as well. Our team has worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic, through lockdown and illness and through tragic losses, to keep the city safe and clean. We have an obligation to honor them any way we can," said Kathryn Garcia, Commissioner of the Department of Sanitation and the City's COVID-19 Food Czar.
"Throughout this pandemic, Food For Heroes has been our way of showing our gratitude to the individuals who have diligently shown up to work each day, knowing they will be met with immense challenges and hardship. They do so because they know their fellow New Yorkers depend on them, and they are our heroes because of it," said Toya Williford, Executive Director of the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. "As we expand to serve DSNY workers and staff at non-profit nursing homes, we recognize that none of this would be possible without the commitment of our funding partners. Together we are able to bring these small comforts to our essential workers who have given so much for months on end."
"We appreciate the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City for recognizing the hard work and dedication of 1199's frontline healthcare workers," said George Gresham, President of 1199 SEIU. "1199 members have been on the front lines of the fight against COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic, and the Food for Heroes program donations are a way to help make things a little easier for them as they continue to work hard to save lives."
"The Continuing Care Leadership Coalition has been honored to work alongside the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City to expand its Food For Heroes program to frontline healthcare workers at non-profit nursing homes in New York City," said Roxanne Tena-Nelson, CCLC's Interim President. "We are proud of and extremely grateful for all of the dedicated staff members and their tireless efforts during this pandemic. Our mission-driven members unfailingly have served some of the most vulnerable populations in our City, and we appreciate the generous and charitable donations and support from the Mayor's Fund in recognition of these healthcare heroes."
"I am pleased to see another expansion of the Food For Heroes program that will include delivering meals to staff at non-profit nursing homes and DSNY garages across the city," said State Senator Joseph P. Addabbo, Jr. "The benefit of the program has been to provide meals for our frontline workers and now those that we have also witnessed credibly help others during the pandemic - our nursing home staffers and sanitation workers. I would like to thank the Mayor's office and all those involved in making this program such a success."
"Our essential nursing home staff and Department of Sanitation workers have kept our City safe throughout the course of this pandemic, whether it's caring for our loved ones or keeping our public spaces clean. I appreciate the Office of the Mayor's effort to support these individuals through the Food for Heroes program, especially those serving the Bronx and in District 34," said State Senator Alessandra Biaggi.
"During these difficult times while we are still fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, providing food to those on the front lines is vital and necessary. I support the Food for Heroes program, which delivers meals to non-profit nursing home staff and sanitation workers across the city. We should be doing all we can for these essential workers and expanding this program so that more of these essential workers can get free meals is the right thing to do," said State Senator James Sanders Jr.
"A quarter of the population of New York City is facing food insecurity. The Food For Heroes program will help address this by providing meals to our essential workers. My district, which encompasses parts of Flatbush, Brooklyn, had some of the highest rates of death and infection from the virus in the city. This is due, in part, to the high population of essential workers - including nursing home employees and sanitation workers - who have consistently served their fellow New Yorkers through the pandemic. I am happy that they will now receive meals through the mayor's program," said Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte.
"With the expansion of programs like Food for Heroes, essential New York workers can continue the vital services that need to be done to keep our communities safely moving forward. As we meticulously deal with this COVID-19 pandemic, it's imperative that our frontline workers are nourished and healthy. For all those who have contributed towards the Mayor's COVID-19 Emergency Fund, we wholeheartedly thank you." said Assembly Member Maritza Davila.
"I commend the Mayor and his Fund to Advance New York City for expanding its Food For Heroes Program, providing more than 71,000 meals to the staff at non-profit nursing homes and Department of Sanitation (DSNY) garages New York City. These are the unsung heroes during this pandemic, providing vital care and services to New Yorkers, and they deserve to be recognized and rewarded for their commitment to our city," said Assembly Member Rebecca Seawright.
"Nursing home staff and sanitation workers are some of the unsung heroes who regularly put their lives on the line to shepherd New Yorkers through this pandemic. The Food for Heroes program is a small but meaningful way to express our gratitude as a city, a gesture we can expand on by fighting for more protections, hazard pay, and benefits for these selfless workers. From the bottom of our hearts, thank you," said Council Member Margaret S. Chin.