Our Model

West Side Campaign Against Hunger changes our perception of hungry people by working in partnership with them, providing food with dignity, and empowering customers to find solutions.

Our Mission

West Side Campaign Against Hunger alleviates hunger by ensuring that all New Yorkers have access with dignity to a choice of healthy food and supportive services.

How We Are Different

West Side Campaign Against Hunger is rooted in three core values – Dignity, Community, and Choice – and we incorporate them into all aspects of our work. We value our community and ensure that all customers are treated with dignity and respect. WSCAH has been at the forefront of innovation for 40 years, developing the first customer-choice supermarket style pantry in the United States. WSCAH offers healthy, fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, protein, and dairy where customers can choose which foods best suit their diets and lifestyles.

It was quickly apparent that simply providing food was not the answer to our community’s needs. WSCAH recognizes that food insecurity is a multifaceted issue and there are many other factors that might contribute to why one is food insecure. In response, WSCAH created its Social Services department to provide customers with a comprehensive suite of benefits to aid them on their paths to self sufficiency. In order to serve a larger population and provide services for those that cannot easily access our 86th Street Market, WSCAH created its Mobile Market Program in October 2017 which brings healthy food and support services directly to neighborhoods with high rates of poverty and food insecurity in Northern Manhattan and the South Bronx.

In keeping with our principles, we have functioned as a cooperative system since day one. Many of our volunteers are customers themselves, which emphasizes the strength-based approach of our services. Customer volunteers are involved in all aspects of West Side Campaign Against Hunger. They provide great insight into the community we serve, and some are members of our board of directors to ensure we best capture their needs.

WSCAH also believes health is a priority and ensures our shelves are always stocked with fresh produce and other healthy staples. Having access to healthy food choices is crucial for an individual to achieve healthy eating behaviors and to support overall health and wellbeing. In 2019, 42% of the food we distributed was fresh produce.

Between 1993 and 2013, we have been able to increase food distribution by 747%, reduce costs per meal from 80 cents to 55 cents, and improve food quality with fresh fruits and vegetables from the farmers’ markets and organic farms.

Interested in Implementing Our Model?

If you are interested in changing to the cooperative supermarket model, we can help. Traditionally, most food pantries hand out a pre-packed bag. Since 1997, when we presented the “Customer-Cooperative Supermarket Model” at the Second Harvest Annual Conference, the model has been implemented in New York City and across the United States. If you are interested in changing to the customer-choice model, we can help:

West Side Campaign Against Hunger Progress In Meals

  • Arrange site visits so you can see how we function
  • Provide samples of materials, such as application form and shopping card
  • Share best practices developed from experience
  • Advise on room dimensions, set-up, and equipment

Below is a partial list of organizations that West Side Campaign Against Hunger has helped implement the customer choice model:

  • Riverside Church (New York, NY)
  • Project Hospitality (Staten Island, NY)
  • Full Gospel Tabernacle (Staten Island, NY)
  • Hanson Place United Methodist Church (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Golden Harvest Food Pantry – NEBHDCO (North East Brooklyn Housing Development Corporation)
  • Bedstuy Campaign Against Hunger (Brooklyn, NY)
  • Princeton Crisis Ministry (Princeton, NJ)
  • The Food Trust (Philadelphia, PA)
  • CARES Food Pantry (Baltimore, MD)

To get started, contact our Food Director at 212-362-3662 x126 or info@wscah.org