UPPER EAST SIDE, NY — More New Yorkers may be at risk of hunger this holiday season than any other in recent memory, prompting one neighborhood nonprofit to ramp up its efforts to deliver meals to those who need them.
The Stanley M. Isaacs Neighborhood Center nearly doubled its typical output of meal deliveries this year by greatly expanding its Thanksgiving meal delivery program to include more families in Yorkville and East Harlem, the organization said this week.
In a typical year, the Isaacs Center hosts a holiday meal in its senior center for members to celebrate together. An obvious impossibility this year, the center instead plans to prepare and package meals at its East 93rd Street headquarters Thanksgiving morning before an "all hands-on-deck" crew of staff and volunteers deliver them throughout the neighborhood between 7 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thursday.
All told, the Isaacs Center expects to deliver more than 1,000 meals and 400 turkeys on Thanksgiving Day.
Aside from deliveries, the center is also hosting two turkey distribution days, the first of which took place Tuesday. Volunteers included Councilmember Ben Kallos and Assemblymembers Dan Quart and Robert Rodriguez.
"Food insecurity is something our City has been grappling with now more than ever before as Covid-19 has hit many communities that were already in need," Kallos said in a statement.
The coronavirus has spiked the number of food insecure New Yorkers, and all Americans, by the millions, and the Isaacs Center says its clients — most of whom lived at or below the poverty line before the crisis — have been disproportionately hurt.
"At the end of the day, this is what the Isaacs Center is built for–– to provide these essential services and to be together, no matter the challenge or complexity of life in front of us," said Gregory J. Morris, the center's executive director.
To find a food bank on the Upper East Side, or anywhere in the city, use this searchable map.