Hunger Program FAQ

Who can get food? Anyone. Really, we mean it – anyone. We feed everyone, regardless of race, gender, immigration status, economic situation, sexual orientation, faith background (or lack of one). We will give you food if you are drunk or high, provided you are not violent.

Why do you feed people who are drunk or high? They’re just going to spend the money they save on drugs or booze. Our mission is to ensure that no one goes hungry. People who suffer from addiction have an addiction. When you’re an addict, your only priority is getting drugs or booze. Food is an afterthought. But we all need food in order to stay alive. We feed people so that they can stay alive so that a miracle might occur. If they’re dead, that miracle can’t happen.

Do I need a referral? Do I have to prove I’m broke? No. Just show up.

Do I need to give you my name? In order to qualify for government food grants, we need to keep track of the number of people we feed. In order to keep up with the demand for food, we’ve worked hard to make this as simple as possible. When you first visit the pantry, we’ll ask you for your name, the number of people in your house and their ages. When you come back again, you’ll just give us the name and that’s it. You do not have to provide identification with your name on it.

I’m a home health aid, can I get a bag for the person in my care? Yes, but we need to verify that you are, indeed, a home health aid and that you do, in fact, have someone in your care. Please bring some form of identification that would help us verify that you’re a home health aid and that you have a person for whom you are caring.

May I get a bag for other people in my household? You may, but we need to verify that you share an address with those people, and they must be dependent children, disabled, elderly, or unable to come to the pantry during it’s operating hours. You must bring some form of identification for them and have a brief interview with the pastor or pantry manager to verify their inability to come to the pantry themselves.

What kind of food does the pantry distribute? We try to provide as nutritiously balanced a bag of food as possible. We also try to provide as much food as possible. The quality and quantity of food we give out depends a lot on what we receive from the Food Bank of NYC. During the summer, we’re able to provide fresh veggies thanks to generous donations from local CSAs, the garden at Congregation Ahavas Israel, the NY State’s HPNAP Produce LINK program, and our own backyard garden.

What kind of dinner do you serve? We work really hard to provide the most delicious free meal you’ll ever eat. Our chefs are top-notch, and they take pride in serving gourmet food to everyone who comes through our doors. Wednesday night dinners consist of meat and veggies, soup, salad, bread and a dessert. Thanks to the Greenpoint-Williamsburg CSA and the Southside CSA we’re able to serve locally grown, organic veggies.

Can I get seconds? Yes. You can eat as much food as you want, unless we run out. But we don’t run out often. The only thing we ask is that you use a new plate each time you get food.

Can I take a meal to go? Can I bring leftovers with me? No.

Who can volunteer? We do our best to be a place where anyone can find a way to be service to their community. In order to provide a safe environment to everyone, we do have a few ground rules. You must be sober in order to volunteer. You must be committed to treating everyone with dignity and respect. If you are below high school age, you must have an adult supervisor present with you at all times.

How do I volunteer? Sign up online at our Volunteer Hub site.

How many people do you feed? In May of 2014, the food pantry provided about 800 bags of groceries to individuals. The community meal hosts between 60 and 80 people per week.

How much does it cost to feed all these people? It costs about $5,000 per week to host the meal and keep food pantry running.

How do you pay for this? Our biggest expense is food (about $3,500 per week). New York City, New York State and to the Federal government (especially the U.S Dept. of Agriculture) fund critical emergency food programs, which allow us to purchase food through the Food Bank of NYC.

TEFAP – The Emergency Food Assistance Program
HPNAP – Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program
EFAP – Emergency Food Assistance Program
EFSP – Emergency Food and Shelter Program

Our other expenses include: utilities (electricity, natural gas and heating oil), building maintenance, insurance, telephone and internet, volunteer and donor coordination, ordering and delivery of food, and general administration.