City Harvest attempts to set world record with ‘Repackathon’

Daniel D’Andrea spends around half of his work time coordinating Ernst & Young’s participation in community work. Today he and eight people helped out at the Repackathon.

City Harvest, a food rescue organization, distributes millions of pounds of food every year to over 500 hunger relief agencies across New York City. The food is donated by restaurants, farmers and supermarkets. Still, there is a huge demand for food to help needy families as the holidays approach.

On Thursday morning, City Harvest and  400 volunteers kicked off an effort to set the record for the most food repackaged in 24 hours. The marathon will continue through Friday.

“During a 24-hour period, we are going to repack and distribute a little over 200,000 pounds of food,” Kyle Clifford, associate director in City Harvest, said. The food will repackaged into family-sized donations from bulk food portions. Normally, the organization would repackage 15,000 to 17,000 pounds of food in that amount of time.

“Our agencies have noticed an increased attendance from families and children in the last few years. In addition, the recent SNAP-cuts are making it more challenging for people – they have affected two millions New Yorkers, so therefore people have less capacity to purchase food and that puts an additional demand on our service,” Clifford explained.

One of the companies taking part in the Repackathon is Ernst & Young. Daniel D’Andrea, of Ernst & Young, said events like the one this give employees a sense of self-fulfillment.

“When I started in EY I was first like, ‘oh, four hours I can get out of the office’,”  he said. Something changed though when he was told how many people he had actually fed, “That was the first time I got goose bumps and I just became addicted to it after that.”

He said that he used to leave across the street from a food shelter on 116th Street and it was satisfying to see the City Harvest trucks pull up front.

“I would see City Harvest trucks around there, so it was kind of cool, to see what I did here [the repacking] would come right back to my home,” he said.


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