WSCAH continues to grow its collective food access and advocacy efforts through the Roundtable: Allies for Food Access. Led initially by WSCAH alongside New York Common Pantry, Project Hospitality, and St. John’s Bread and Life, the Roundtable: Allies for Food Access set out in 2018 to explore and pursue opportunities for collective purchasing. As a result of our collective efforts and information sharing, we achieved savings of nearly 20% on food purchasing across the collective.
The Covid-19 pandemic pushed the Roundtable to further increase communication and collaboration among participating organizations. This new information sharing and support channel has proved a vital resource to each member throughout the pandemic. Weekly calls to address the ongoing and rapidly shifting challenges posed by COVID-19 and the dramatically elevated needs of New Yorkers provided a space to discuss and collectively improve operations, source PPE, adjust volunteer programs, and advocate and navigate the landscape of government funding resources. Successful advocacy efforts by the Roundtable included New York State’s decision to extend vaccine eligibility to the Emergency Food Provider workers and volunteers, a significant success for the collective that helped ensure that the thousands of frontline workers meeting the increased food insecurity needs could perform their jobs safely throughout the pandemic.
This past year the Roundtable welcomed and onboarded two new members: Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen and Met Council. With these additions, we’ve expanded our reach and impact and deepened the expertise and creativity core to the group’s success.
A year and a half into the pandemic and three years into its journey for greater collective action, the Roundtable has collectively served over 600,000 people with nearly 29 million meals and successfully advocated for increased funding for Emergency Food Providers including additional rounds of state and city funding and reduced administrative burden for pandemic related grants.
The Roundtable is now entering its third year of operations, with plans to add 2-3 organizations to the collective. We will also increase collective advocacy efforts and leverage collective bargaining power to lower food prices for our partners across the city in service to all our customers. Together, the Roundtable is changing the face of emergency feeding in our city and providing a blueprint for collaborations across organizations, sectors, and the country.