- FreshDirect and a charity the e-grocer works with on Friday unveiled a mobile pantry that will distribute food to people across New York City in an effort to reduce hunger, according to a press release.
- The 22-foot vehicle, operated by New York Common Pantry and funded by donations from FreshDirect customers, also provides access to social services.
- The collaboration reflects a broad effort by the grocery industry to combat food insecurity by directing funds, surplus food and other donations to community groups.
FreshDirect's partnership with New York Common Pantry brings together two organizations with operations in the New York borough of the Bronx, where the online supermarket is headquartered and the hunger-fighting nonprofit runs an office.
Ahold Delhaize-owned FreshDirect provides office space at its Bronx facility for use by employees of New York Common Pantry at no cost, according to the announcement. The organization is based in the New York neighborhood of Harlem.
FreshDirect customers have been able to make contributions to New York Common Pantry when placing grocery orders since February 2020.
The mobile food pantry is equipped with refrigerators and freezers for produce, dairy products and proteins along with shelf space for non-perishable items. It will also host social services staff, who will arrange enrollment in New York Common Pantry's program for distributing free food to eligible people, provide emergency food assistance and help people apply for programs like SNAP.
FreshDirect's operations executives provided advice on the design of the pantry in order to "maximize the service offerings," the press release noted.
Ahold Delhaize announced in February that its U.S. brands, which include The Giant Company, Giant Food, Food Lion, Hannaford and Stop & Shop in addition to FreshDirect, intend to donate two billion meals as part of the company's sustainability program. The Dutch grocery chain acquired an 80% stake in FreshDirect in early 2021.
Almost 1.1 million people who live in New York City, or just under 13% of the city's population, are considered food insecure, according to statistics compiled by Food Bank for New York City. The federal government defines food insecurity as "the disruption of food intake or eating patterns because of lack of money and other resources."
Correction: A previous version of this story misstated the date when the mobile food pantry was introduced. It was unveiled on Oct. 29.