The West Side Campaign Against Hunger (WSCAH) is one the largest emergency food providers in New York City–distributing enough groceries for more than 4 million meals last year alone–and has been at the forefront of innovation in the sector for more than 40 years. Having developed the first customer-choice supermarket-style food pantry in the United States in an effort to actualize their core organizational priorities of supporting customers’ “dignity, community, and choice,” WSCAH continually pushes the envelope beyond its core food and benefits access programs. These include the launch of an online ordering platform that empowers customers to choose the types of food they receive from the convenience of their phones, and spearheading The Roundtable, a collaboration of NYC’s eight largest food pantries that pools resources to purchase food collectively and advocate for policies that advance food equity across NYC and New York State, a project that KK&P has supported since its launch in 2018. Now, WSCAH is moving to formally expand its Community Hub Initiative, and broaden the coalition of partnerships that make the program possible.
What is the Community Hub Initiative?
In 2017, WSCAH began offering mobile food distribution via a customized truck that brought a supermarket-style shopping experience directly to customers in high-need neighborhoods across NYC. WSCAH’s primary goal in launching this effort was to bring food directly to clients in the neighborhoods where they live and work. The program saves customers both money and time, and broadens access to customers who may have been excluded by barriers imposed by traveling to WSCAH’s Upper West Side home base.
As the COVID-19 pandemic spiked demand for emergency and supplemental food, WSCAH scaled up its mobile operation as quickly as it could. They did this by forging partnerships with community-based organizations across NYC that host distribution sites supported by WSCAH and other funding partners. This has evolved to become WSCAH’s Community Hub Initiative. Last year, Community Hub partners provided enough groceries for over 4 million meals that were distributed at more than 60 locations through a diverse network of partners, including other pantries, senior services providers, healthcare organizations, offices of local elected officials, and more.
How KK&P is Helping to Support WSCAH’s Community Hub
KK&P has been a part of the development of the Community Hub Initiative almost since its inception, first working alongside the expansion of the program as facilitators of the Roundtable. Over the course of 2021, we worked with WSCAH on the program more directly while charting the organization’s strategic priorities for recovery from the pandemic and beyond.
This year, KK&P began working with WSCAH to create a way of strategically identifying new Community Hub partners. We did this by developing a Request for Expressions of Interest (RFEI) for the program which was recently launched. Invitations to partner went to organizations across NYC, and the opportunity is being publicized in newsletters. KK&P will manage communication with prospective partners, the vetting process, interviews and, ultimately, co-select new Community Hub partnerships to launch in early 2023.
We welcome our readers to review the RFEI and forward it to organizations interested in developing or growing their neighborhood-based healthy food distribution initiatives.