The New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH) was established in 1983 and represents the more than 1,200 charitable soup kitchens and food pantries that exist in New York City, as well as the 1.3 million low-income New Yorkers forced to rely on their services. The Coalition is committed to meeting the immediate food needs of low-income New Yorkers while enacting innovative solutions to help them move "beyond the soup kitchen" towards greater economic self-sufficiency.
NYCCAH currently runs ten programs: 1.) The Farm Fresh Produce Project is increasing the consumption of fresh, organic, New York State-grown produce in targeted neighborhoods, enabling low-income residents to obtain the produce for free and/or with their food stamp benefits and enabling other residents to purchase the produce at market rates. This effort is reducing hunger, promoting economic self-sufficiency, improving nutrition, and limiting obesity. 2.) The groundbreaking Emergency Food Action Center (EFAC) is one of the first programs in the nation to provide comprehensive technical assistance to kitchens and pantries, free of cost, to help them strengthen their infrastructures in order to provide more and better food, as well as to help their clients move towards self-sufficiency. 3.) The Benefits Outreach Program trains pantries and kitchens to connect their clients with key anti-hunger and anti-poverty programs, including: Food Stamps; Women, Infants, and Children (WIC); Child and Family Health Plus; School Meals; After-School Snacks; Summer Meals; and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC). 4.) The Volunteer Matching Center places hundreds of volunteers at kitchens and pantries to help meet basic needs such as stocking shelves and serving customers. The Coalition also recruits long-term, professionally skilled volunteers to help kitchens and pantries perform tasks essential to their program development, such as fundraising, computer skills training, graphic design, and accounting. 5.) The Interfaith Voices Against Hunger Program (IVAH) engages religious and civic leaders, people of varied faiths, and hungry people themselves in addressing hunger and advocating for intensified government action to alleviate poverty. 6.) The Policy Research and Development Project determines the extent of and the causes of hunger in New York City and America and proposes innovative yet practical ways to tackle the problem. NYCCAH conducts extensive field research for its annual hunger survey, which is the city's most comprehensive annual study of hunger. 7.) The Communications Initiative uses the mass media, the Internet, newsletters, and other creative ways of message delivery to inform New Yorkers about the hunger problem and concrete ways they can help address it. 8.) The AmeriCorps*VISTA Project places developing leaders at pantries and kitchens in all five boroughs of New York City. This project provides day-to-day assistance to agency staff to improve the professionalism of their agencies, organize cooperative neighborhood networks to diversify and reduce duplication of local social services, and effectively tackle social problems in their communities. 9.) The AmeriCorps Direct Project places national service participants in full-time or part-time service at pantries, kitchens, and anti-poverty organizations throughout New York City. Differing from the VISTA Project, Direct members perform direct-service tasks (for example, sorting food, filling pantry bags, preparing and serving meals at kitchens, building increased storage facilities, unloading deliveries from the food bank, doing the manual work on a community garden, etc.). 10.) The Technology Project enables kitchens and pantries to better use computer hardware and software to feed more people, track clients, conduct benefits outreach, improve nutrition, link clients to jobs, and perform many other vital functions. To date, the Coalition has provided two dozen agencies with donated technological hardware, software, and the training to use it for important tasks such as accounting, client tracking, communications, and job training.