How a New York City nonprofit is redesigning its food pantry – Food Tank


In New York City, a nonprofit is distributing pantry items to over 2,000 individuals through a new food box subscription model. Motivated by efficiency and resilience, welfare We want to develop a food pantry paradigm that better addresses the needs of people experiencing food insecurity.

According to New York City’s 2021 Food Index Report, nearly 13 percent Three New York City residents are food insecure. New York’s food pantries and soup kitchens offer relief, but some hubs have faced food shortages or closed entirely during the pandemic. , saw an opportunity to make these operations more resilient, efficient and customer-focused.

Riley launched Wellfare in 2020 after leading the largest private COVID-19 relief effort in New York City. founder givesis a food donation pipeline for medium to large food and beverage companies, providing over 2 million products to help over 100,000 healthcare workers and patients across food-scarce hospitals Did. After a successful campaign, Riley learned that the same logistics could be applied to address food insecurity in low-income neighborhoods of New York City.

“It doesn’t work, so we have to completely flip the model. The Food Pantry model is based on the old Depression-era bread-making line and is still doing it in 2022,” Riley told Food Tank. I’m talking

Instead of waiting in a food pantry line, customers can receive a monthly box of nutritious pantry staples straight to their door. To identify potential subscribers, Wellfare works with the New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) to access public housing communities.

Wellfare currently serves 700 homes in the East Harlem and Bushwick neighborhoods. Through an onboarding process that includes an in-depth questionnaire, Wellfare measures users’ taste preferences, health concerns, grocery consumption habits, and household profile. With this information, organizations can also adjust their monthly procurement to better reflect subscriber needs.

A typical box contains approximately US$200 worth of snacks, beverages, pantry staples, and ready-to-eat meals. Welfare chooses products with less sugar, salt and fat than traditional products. It also contains functional ingredients that enhance nutritional value. Examples include protein-rich chickpea pasta and grass-fed his beef his jerky sticks. This approach separates welfare from the pantry, which prioritizes produce and other short shelf-life cold items.

“We have a more practical approach to eating that’s in line with the typical consumer, whether they’re wealthy or low-income,” Riley explains. “People are buying packaged products. We just have healthier versions.”

Welfare utilization is around 90% or more. Riley told his Food Tank: It’s a question the pantries are afraid to ask because they don’t want to know the answer. ”

Riley’s model emphasizes flexibility and minimizes barriers to brand participation. This nonprofit caters to brands’ giving capabilities, whether it’s a one-time donation or a commitment over several months. Wellfare also takes advantage of companies’ fluctuating inventories to enable donations of mislabeled, overstocked, and nearing sell-by dates.

To strengthen Wellfare’s operations, the organization leverages its network of volunteers. These volunteers box up the month’s selections at his Wellfare warehouse in Queens. On distribution days, volunteers deliver boxes to customers’ doors to ensure that clients, including those with accessibility issues, receive her Wellfare boxes.

Today, Wellfare survives on funds received from the food and beverage industry. Some of the largest non-profit backers include The Coca-Cola Foundation, Joy In Childhood Foundation and Whole Foods Market. Riley hopes to use the additional funding to expand the box’s reach and include even more families and neighborhoods.By the end of 2022, East He will have her 5,000 households in Harlem and Bushwick. We aim to provide service. After working hard in New York, Riley envisions the service expanding nationwide.

In the future, Riley sees an opportunity for existing models to evolve into brick-and-mortar stores. Grocery stores sell groceries, some of which are donated, and can be sold at varying prices to customers in need. According to Riley, it will offer “better products, better service, and wraparound value.” This “hybrid omnichannel grocery store,” which rivals luxury stores, will have enhanced nutritional standards and a higher create an experience. Riley told his Food Tank: That’s the food insecurity killer. It’s a grocery store. ”

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Photo credit: Welfare





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