People We Help
Client Photo Collage

Client Stories

          Ricky - Show/Hide

          Mark Honerbaum - Show/Hide

          Ollie Reeves - Show/Hide

          Grace* - Show/Hide

          David* - Show/Hide

          Lenora Canty - Show/Hide

          Halana Richardson - Show/Hide

          * All names have been changed to ensure privacy.



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.

Information on Hunger

According to the Food Bank for New York City, there are 1.2 million people in New York City experiencing food hardship.   When compared with New York City, the statistics for East Harlem paint a dismal and urgent picture.

According to the 2009 American Community Survey released by the Census Bureau, the median household income for East Harlem families was $30,674, 55% less than Manhattan’s median household income of $54,879.

NYC’s 2006 Community Health Report shows 38% of East Harlem residents live below the poverty line, nearly twice that of Manhattan residents.  In response to the high numbers of families living in or below the poverty line, the Common Pantry serves all of NYC with a focus on East Harlem and Upper Manhattan.

Upper Manhattan and neighboring communities are 'food insecure.'  Residents are unable to afford food basics, unable to travel to the grocery store.

As a result, many suffer from diminished access to nutritious and healthy food.  Often, residents shop at corner deli markets or take out from pizza shops, doughnut stores, and fried-food restaurants that pepper their immediate neighborhood.

Residents are ill educated about the negative affects of these choices and consequently, find themselves with illness and complications associated with food insecurity, obesity, and poor nutrition.

Demographics:  Visitors to New York Common Pantry 2013:

28%African American30%Female66%Adult
3%Caucasian  12%Seniors