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Coronavirus Update: City Harvest Stepping Up Big For More Than 1 Million Food-Insecure New Yorkers

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Inside a large, nondescript warehouse in Long Island City, a fervent effort is underway to feed the needy of New York City in the wake of the coronavirus.

At nonprofit City Harvest Food Rescue, volunteers are busy packing large amounts of food in individual family bags for distribution -- non-perishable salmon, peanut butter, brown rice, lentils, coconut water, and granola bars.

"The mission is going to be more important than ever. There's going to be so many hungry New Yorkers in a matter of moments, and we all have to step up," City Harvest board member and volunteer Katie Workman told CBS2's Scott Rapoport on Tuesday.


More than 100,000 pounds of product in all, including huge amounts of food that have been donated by restaurants that are closing. Since Friday, City Harvest said it has collected 36,000 pounds of food from nearly 50 restaurants across the city.

"They're picking up the phone and calling us and asking our drivers to come pick up the food that they can no longer serve to the community of New York City," City Harvest's Erin Butler said.

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The food will be shipped to more than 400 local soup kitchens, food pantries, and shelters to help those who need it in this troubling time of crisis and uncertainty.

"Right now, there are presently 1.2 million food-insecure New Yorkers in New York City, and 335,000 of those are children," City Harvest's Lex Wilder said.

CORONAVIRUS: NY Health Dept. | NY Call 1-(888)-364-3065 | NYC Health Dept. | NYC Call 311, Text 692692 | Westchester Testing Call 1(888)-364-3065 | NJ Health Dept. | NJ Case Tracker | NJ Call 1-(800)-222-1222 | CT Health Dept. | CT Call 211

And with New York City public schools closed, folks here say the emphasis will be on feeding those children, many of whom depend on the schools for their food and might not otherwise have a proper meal to eat.

"These poor kids. If they can't get their meals at school because it's closed then they need someplace to get food," volunteer Marcia Harris said.

And this is where it starts. It's what this place is all about -- serving up sustenance with compassion and kindness.

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