Faces of NYCP:  Meet Ricky
Ricky in the Hall

Ricky was a part of New York City's workforce for many years.  Born in Hell's Kitchen and a New Yorker all his life, Ricky says he first went to work in his father's construction business, and later worked for both financial firms and newspapers.  Ricky has a small apartment near our building on 109th Street but little income at this point in his life.  After he pays rent he has little money left over for food, so he comes to New York Common Pantry for hot meals several times a week.  Today we meet an increasing number of seniors like Ricky, who've made their contribution to the city and now need our help.

French Officials Visit NY Common Pantry
French Officials Vist NY Common Pantry
From left to right:  Bertrand Lortholary, Consul General of France in New York City - Neill Bogan, Director of Development
and Communications - Wendy A. Stein, Board Chair - Guillaume Garot, France's Minister of State for the Agrifood Sector -
Daniel Reyes, Director of Programs and Operations - Christophe Malvezin, Agricultural Counselor at the French
Embassy in Washington

NY Common Pantry was honored to welcome a visit on July 2, 2013 by Guillaume Garot, France's Minister of State for the Agrifood Sector, along with Bertrand Lortholary, Consul General of France in New York City, and other guests who toured the Pantry to learn about our programs and the people we serve.

We were proud to help them learn about our Choice Pantry system, food rescue efforts, and other programs that work to reduce hunger and promote dignity and self-sufficiency for residents of New York City.

French Officials Vist NY Common Pantry

We Are Redburn’s Charity of the Year!
About Redburn
We're proud to have been named Redburn's Charity of the Year for New York City.  Staff of the independent equities broker will take part in volunteer and fundraising projects with us over the next 12 months, and the company will make a cash award to support our programs.

Find out more about their charitable work here.   Thank you, Redburn!

Lauren Bush Lauren, FEED, Feeding America and
Target visit New York Common Pantry!
Lauren Bush Lauren, FEED, Feeding America and Target visit New York Common Pantry!

New York Common Pantry was treated to a visit from Lauren Bush Lauren, FEED, Feeding America, and Target.   Lauren's work with FEED provides food for children around the world, including here at our Pantry.   Check out Target's video above to see how Lauren worked with a Pantry member using the tablets to choose her food.

Our Fill the Bag Benefit
was a Great Success!
2013 Benefit was a Great Success!

Our annual Fill the Bag Benefit was one of our most successful!  Board Chair Wendy A. Stein and Executive Director Stephen Grimaldi unveiled our name change to New York Common Pantry!  Maurice DuBois, WCBS-TV news anchor, was Master of Ceremonies and Karl Green, Director of Furniture and Decorative Arts for Bonhams in New York, served as auctioneer.

Honorees included Dr. Karen C. Altfest, who received the Founder Award.  Community Partner Awards were presented to Fairway Market and Lauren Bush Lauren, FEED.

2013 Fill the Bag Benefit from New York Common Pantry on Vimeo.

View the video and photos from the Benefit here.

New York Common Pantry’s Board Chair discusses name change with The Wall Street Journal
“When Wendy A. Stein wants to find a bit of happiness, she bags onions ...”

New York Common Pantry’s Board Chair discusses name change with The Wall Street Journal

Read the Wall Street Journal article written by Melanie Grayce West.

Common Pantry receives Kathy Goldman Innovation Award
from Food Bank For New York City
New York Common Pantry is the proud recipient of Food Bank For New York City’s Kathy Goldman Innovation Award.  Formerly called the Member of the Year Award, it was renamed this year to celebrate Kathy Goldman, founder of Food Bank For New York City.  The Common Pantry received this prestigious award for Pantry Direct, the technology component of our Choice Pantry and other innovations.

Pantry Direct offers our Pantry members the convenience of choosing their food online.  The Common Pantry is honored to receive this award from Food Bank for New York City.

Sandy Relief Continues
New York struggles with the effects of Superstorm Sandy.  In line with our mission of serving the entire city, we will continue to provide storm relief through the first half of the year.  We are grateful for emergency funding from the Robin Hood Foundation and the Heckscher Foundation for Children as well as the many other contributions that will make this possible.

Since November, we have sent thousands of bagged meals as well as tons of other food and supplies to areas affected by Sandy.  We encourage you to continue collecting food or supplies; as needs change regularly, please check the current needs listed here before you begin.  If you have questions please do not hesitate to call (917) 720-1729 or e-mail

Please consider making a donation to help support our relief efforts or general operations, and we will put your good will to work.

Fill the Bag Benefit
March 7, 2013
Benefit Video

2013 Fill the Bag Benefit from New York Common Pantry on Vimeo.

Benefit Photos

Fresh Direct
Our partnership with FreshDirect continues.  We are grateful to the many people who have purchased FreshDirect gift cards for $25, $50, or $100 that come straight to NY Common Panty, allowing us to add that amount, pre-paid, to our food order for distribution through the Pantry.

You can purchase gift cards at in time for our major food distribution period through Thanksgiving and the Holidays.  Thanks to FreshDirect and our donors!

YCP's first President and board chair, Karen Altfest,
honored for her work with YCP
Karen C. Altfest:  executive vice president at Altfest Personal Wealth Management & YCP's first President and board chair

On September 13, 2012, Karen C. Altfest, executive vice president at Altfest Personal Wealth Management, was honored with the Community Leadership Award for Community Service by Invest in Others Charitable Foundation.  Held annually at Cipriani, 42nd Street, the event recognizes and celebrates the accomplishments of financial advisors who have made service to their communities a focal point of their life's work.

Karen was instrumental in starting YCP in 1979 and was the Board Chair and President when YCP became an official 501 (c)(3) organization.   In addition to Karen receiving her award, YCP is the recipient of a $20,000 check from the Invest in Others Charitable Foundation.   Karen, we thank you for all you’ve done for YCP. Congratulations!

YCP’s Executive Director speaks out about
potential funding cuts
"We've seen a 15% increase in the number of people coming to us.  That's an increase from 25,000 to 29,000 people—an additional 4,000 people."   However, less funding for food is available from the federal government. Contributing to the discussions about the Farm Bill expiration and the further cuts that would cause in funding available through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, our Executive Director, Stephen Grimaldi, was quoted in the latest New York Nonprofit Press.

To read more of his comments and learn more about the Farm Bill and its impact on low-income New Yorkers, click here:

Fairway Market and YCP at
92nd Street Y’s Street Fest
Fairway Market and YCP at 92nd Street Y's Street Fest

YCP had the pleasure of collaborating with Fairway Market at this year's 92nd Street Y Annual Street Fest.   The bright fall day featured activities for families and children, information about 92Y programs, cultural music performances, and food from local organizations.

Fairway Market took half a city block at the fair and dedicated all of its efforts to raising funds and awareness of YCP.  Lori Levy, Director of Trade and Product Development for Fairway Market served as MC for the First Annual Smokey Joe's Kosher BBQ Grilling Contest and helped bring the crowd’s attention to YCP's cause by giving out gift cards and other prizes for trivia answers.

The proceeds from the Fairway Market sales and a company donation raised $5,000 for YCP's programs.   Lori remarked, "Making a difference in my neighborhood is especially important to me.  Supporting Yorkville Common Pantry has been a far-reaching and rewarding effort for Fairway."  Thank you, Fairway!

Make sure to check out Fairway's blog for more information about this event.

Edible Flowers, Tomato Jungles & Chickens
YCP visits Katchkie Farm for the 3rd consecutive year
Katchkie Farm - 2012

Did you know that you can eat flowers?  Nathalie learned this during her visit to The Sylvia Center at Katchkie Farm in Columbia County, NY.   Nathalie was one of two hundred children who were part of six trips to The Sylvia Center this year, twice as many trips as last year.

Katchkie Farm - 2012Katchkie Farm - 2012

An average of twenty-five students and their families attended each trip.  Stephanie, an 8 year old participant, learned how to take care of the plants by using greenhouses.  "I learned that even if we think we don’t like something we should try it because maybe we will be surprised," remarked Stephanie on the trip home.  In addition to learning how to properly hold a chicken, children learned the proper techniques for cutting tomatoes, cauliflower, and lettuce, and asked about the difference between green and red tomatoes on the vine in the tomato jungle.

Katchkie Farm - 2012

New to the farm this year were four pigs that were being raised organically.  Children relished the opportunity to give the pigs their apple cores and tomatoes.  While walking through the garden using 'airplane arms,' which help children know where to step so they don't inadvertently step on a growing plant, the children and their families tasted fennel, which reminded them of licorice, and yellow and orange carrots.

A perennial highlight of the trip was when the students helped prepare their lunch using items from the Farm and garden.  After tasting a mixed salad of fresh romaine lettuce and carrots drizzled with a homemade ranch dressing, one student proclaimed that she wanted to visit the Farm every week!

YCP benefits from a wonderful night thanks to
Fairway and Hamptons Players Club
Fairway and Hamptons Players Club
Fairway and Hamptons Players Club - Sunday, July 29, 2012

Sunday night’s event with Fairway Markets and Agromente/Aromatica Italian Foods was a wonderful success.   Click here to read more about it on Fairway Market’s blog.

YCP introduces Choice Pantry and YCP Direct
Choice Pantry/YCP Direct

YCP is officially a 'Choice Pantry.'  This means our Pantry members now place their custom orders, selecting from a range of items in specific food groups, including grain, protein, vegetable, fruit and dairy categories.  Each Pantry member is able to choose twelve nutritionally balanced, culturally appropriate meals for their pantry bag per visit.

Choice doesn’t stop at the type of food Pantry members get to choose, however.  In order to best meet the diverse schedules and needs of our Pantry members, YCP now offers two different methods to choose from when placing their orders:

  1.      1)   The first option allows Pantry members to pre-order by accessing a customized menu tailored to their family size.   This is done through a web-based menu option called YCP Direct, which allows clients to access the current week's pantry menu, submit their order online, and pick up their order at a convenient time.

  2.      2)   The second option allows members to place same-day orders on-site at YCP via one of the available touch-screen tablets.   In this option, volunteers help Pantry members place their custom orders.  Once the order is completed, it is wirelessly transmitted to the Pantry, where other volunteers pack each Pantry member’s bag according to their specifications.

Whether ordering using YCP Direct or on-site, Pantry members make their own selections and take home their packages in their preferred timeframe.  For those whom English is a second language, the menus can be easily translated into one of 26 additional languages.

Choice Pantry/YCP Direct

YCP Direct's system is unique for a food pantry.  It saves people time and allows people not only to choose their food, but to do so in a thoughtful way at their convenience.  "Some of the feedback we have gotten is that our families have such limited choices when they shop, whether it is due to geographic access, a lack of resources, or both.  YCP Direct allows Pantry members to either order from home, at a community center or a public library.  It allows people to check their cupboards and refrigerators before ordering.  We believe it is the best way to help people stretch their food dollars, to eliminate waste, and dignify the experience of being a Pantry member", said Stephen Grimaldi, YCP’s Executive Director.

Pantry member Ollie Reeves, a 77 year-old resident of Central Harlem has been visiting the Pantry since 2000.  Recently, she took time to describe her reaction to the new ordering system.  Ollie has diabetes and has always struggled with making sure she has items in her kitchen that work best for her medical and dietary needs.  "So now, with YCP Direct I can choose fruit and vegetables that I want specifically for my needs!"  News of Choice Pantry and YCP Direct brought a smile to Ollie Reeves' face and she clapped her hands with thanks.  Ms. Reeves told YCP she will now be placing her Pantry order on the computers available at her neighborhood Senior Center.

Choice Pantry/YCP Direct

We look forward to hearing more stories from clients on how YCP Direct and our new Choice Pantry is helping them!

Check out this video about our Client, Cynthia Callwood, talking to WNBC’s Melissa Russo about Choice Pantry and YCP Direct online ordering.

YCP is excited to announce our
Fill the Bag Benefit — March 7, 2013
Fill the Bag Benefit — March 7, 2013 - Commitment Form

Click here for a "Fill the Bag" commitment form.

Early Commitment Special — Commit by January 7th and our Green Grocer tickets are $500!

Contact Kelly Barkley for more information at 917-720-9717.

YCP's exciting partnership with FreshDirect!

Fresh Direct

Have you ever wanted to donate food to YCP but didn’t know what food to buy, or when you’d have time to drop the food off or schedule a pick-up?   Now thanks to YCP's new partnership with FreshDirect, you have the option of purchasing a gift card that our Food Programs Manager can use to purchase the healthy food YCP needs for our Choice Pantry and Hot Meals programs.  Purchasing a FreshDirect gift card ensures that YCP is able to purchase food and schedule deliveries based on the needs of our Pantry members.

FreshDirect has committed a 10% discount on YCP's orders.  One of the best things about this partnership is that it allows individuals who want to help YCP purchase gift cards even if they don’t live in a FreshDirect delivery area.  For example, a donation of $25 allows YCP to buy 32 pounds of bananas to use in the Pantry.  "This exciting partnership gives our donors the flexibility to donate using a gift card instead of purchasing food and finding time to drop it off or schedule a pick-up," said Stephen Grimaldi, YCP’s Executive Director.

Interested in purchasing a FreshDirect gift card for YCP?  Head to   If you’re a member, you will be asked to log-in to your account.  If you’re not a FreshDirect member, you’ll be directed to a zip-code tracking page where you can enter your zip code.  On the right of the page, you’ll see a YCP icon — enter the gift card amount you’d like to donate.

YCP Partners with Fairway Market for an
evening of feasting in East Hampton
Master Class with Steve Jenkins and Joshua Wesson - Sunday, July 29, 2012
Master Class with Steve Jenkins and Joshua Wesson - Sunday, July 29, 2012

YCP is proud to partner with Fairway Markets as they and Agromente/Aromatica Italian Foods host an intimate and exclusive evening of feasting and learning with Steve Jenkins, master fromager and Joshua Wesson, author sommelier of distinction this coming Sunday at the Hamptons Players Club.

Guests will enjoy exquisite wines, cheeses, and a three-course meal.  100% of the tickets purchase price will benefit YCP.  We are grateful to Fairway and Agromente/Aromatica Italian Foods for their generous donations.

Please consider attending this wonderful event if you are in East Hampton on Sunday night.

Click here for Tickets and more information.

YCP presented with ‘FEED Hero Award’ at
4th Annual FEED-Raiser
Wendy A. Stein, YCP Board Chair and Lauren Bush Lauren, Co-Founder of FEED Foundation
Photo:  Wendy A. Stein, YCP Board Chair and Lauren Bush Lauren, Co-Founder of FEED Foundation

On December 14th, Yorkville Common Pantry was awarded $10,000 at the 4th Annual FEED-Raiser and Market event at Urban Zen in New York City.   Lauren Bush Lauren, Co-Founder of FEED Foundation, presented YCP with FEED's 1st ever 'FEED Hero Award' to YCP Board Chair, Wendy A. Stein.   "Yorkville Common Pantry is a stand-out example of the FEED Foundation's mission to fight hunger worldwide.  We are proud to be honoring YCP's more than 30 years of outstanding work for New Yorkers in need," said Lauren Bush Lauren.  FEED employees came to volunteer at YCP for the first time in our new innovative Choice Pantry, providing clients with individualized grocery packages by using web-enabled tablets on-site to allow participants to choose the items they need the most.  YCP is honored to be acknowledged by FEED Foundation's mission to support programs and organizations that effectively work to fight hunger and eliminate malnutrition throughout the world.  So a special THANK YOU to FEED Foundation for this wonderful recognition of our work in New York City!

YCP is excited to announce our
2012 Spring Benefit!
Save the Date

EARLY COMMITMENT SPECIAL -- Commit by January 13th and our Green Grocer tickets are $500!

Contact Lindyn Soviero for more information at 917-720-9708.

YCP’s 30th Anniversary Benefit Raises $300,000

2011 Gala
(From left: Award Recipients Doreen Morales and Jeffrey Zurofsky, YCP Board Member Antonia Abraham
and YCP Executive Director, Stephen Grimaldi)

YCP’s 30th Anniversary Benefit set a fundraising record raising $300,000 from generous donors which will support our food distribution programs and related services.  Over 250 guests enjoyed a culinary experience at the newly opened riverpark:  A Tom Colicchio Restaurant. Rosanna Scotto, Co-host of Good Day New York on Fox 5 was the Master of Ceremonies.  The evening featured a silent auction, raffle prizes and a live-auction conducted by special guest Canedy Knowles of the improvisational group Chicago City Limits.

YCP honorees included Doreen and Larry Morales and Park Avenue United Methodist Church, recipients of the Helene Abraham Volunteer Community Service Award.  This award was presented by Helene Abraham’s granddaughter and YCP Board Member, Antonia Abraham. Jeffrey Zurofsky, noted restaurateur and co-founder of wichcraft and riverpark, received YCP’s Community Partner Award.

YCP Kids go on a Field Trip!

The Sylvia Center

Maria and a group of NICF children and their parents went on a field trip to The Sylvia Center located within Katchkie Farms in Columbia County, New York.  The Sylvia Center is an educational nonprofit that introduces children to the pleasures and benefits of healthful food through farm visits and cooking workshops.  The students spent a whole day learning about fruits and vegetables and how they are cared for, harvested and prepared to eventually eat! The children had such a wonderful time!

Click here for the full story of our trip!

Click here for additional photos of our trip!