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City Harvest Gifted $20M to Build New Food Distribution in Brooklyn

The donation was made by the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation
6-year-old Luna Fischer helps the food boxes with tortillas. Photo by Russell Frederick.

The city's largest food rescue organization, City Harvest, has received a $20 million donation to build a new food rescue and delivery hub in Sunset Park.

The center will be called the Cohen Community Food Rescue Center, in recognition of the large donation made by the Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation.

Steven and Alexandra Cohen Foundation President Alex Cohen said the organization was proud to partner with and support City Harvest in its efforts to feed thousands of hungry New Yorkers nutritious food.

"COVID-19 has not let up yet and we know the recovery will take significant time and effort. We are proud to be able to provide this support to City Harvest at such a critical time for our communities," Cohen said.

Over the course of the pandemic, City Harvest has rescued and delivered more than 151 million pounds of nutritious food -- more than double the amount during the same period pre-pandemic — to New Yorkers free of charge.

During the height of the crisis, City Harvest staff worked around the clock to regroup and adjust to the new normal. Safety protocols were heightened for the protection of staff, and food distribution trucks stayed on the road 24-hours a day, seven days a week, throughout the entire crisis.

"Since COVID-19 hit, everything was essentially full speed ahead. It's all about getting food into the hands of the people that really need it," Carr told BK Reader last September.

"Once the crisis hit, about ninety of our citywide food pantries closed down. And about thirty of those were in Brooklyn, so there was even more of a need."

City Harvest CEO Jilly Stephens said with the donation, the organization would be able to help feed everyone that depended on them now, "and through whatever challenges our city will face in the months and years to come."

City Harvest says on its website it will be moving its operations to Sunset Park in fall this year. "We are excited to join the Sunset Park community thrilled with the possibilities our new home will bring, enabling us to continue our food rescue work to help feed the many New Yorkers who were depending on us before COVID-19, and the many more who are turning to us now."

City Harvest delivers food to more than 400 food pantries, soup kitchens, community partners and its own Mobile Markets across the five boroughs, and works alongside community partners to boost community capacity, expand nutrition education and strengthen local food systems.