Ever since its creation in 1985, the Rusty Staub Foundation has become synonymous with the motto that has been the driving force behind our steadfast commitment: benefiting youth, fighting hunger. We stand proudly behind our youth and believe strongly in their future. Additionally, we stand proudly behind those less fortunate than us who have little other means of providing food for themselves and their loved ones. The Rusty Staub Foundation provides educational scholarships, grants and donations for charitable and educational purposes.
The Rusty Staub Emergency Food Program
The Rusty Staub Foundation Emergency Food Program supports food pantries serving families facing an emergency shortage of food in each of the five boroughs of New York City. Founded in 2002, the program currently includes five stationary pantries located in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens and a mobile food pantry providing service at four sites in Staten Island and one in the Bronx. Together, these pantries distributed more than one million nutritious meals last year.
The program is designed to address families’ immediate need for assistance and the individual factors that may contribute to or exacerbate their crisis. Towards this end, the goals of the program are multi-faceted and include:
- To provide families in crisis with a nutritious supply of food.
- To provide children and adults with educational information and materials to foster healthy consumption patterns.
- To help low-income families suffering from hunger to access additional resources and programs that will assist them in achieving stability and self-sufficiency.
- To bring awareness of hunger, and its lasting consequences on families and children, to the general public.
The case manager may provide a family with a supplemental government food program and Social Security benefits. Also, the case manager may assist individuals in enrolling in education, employment, or immigration programs to improve their long-term income potential. The services provided include case management, emergency eviction prevention assistance and homelessness prevention, supportive counseling, and employment training and placement. Specialized programs for youth, the elderly and the disabled are available.
Mr. Staub’s enthusiastic support and hands-on involvement in the program is key to drawing public attention to the serious problem of hunger in New York City. Traveling throughout New York City, Rusty Staub’s mobile unit demonstrates the effectiveness of a collective response in the fight against hunger. In addition, the mobile unit provides emergency assistance to New Yorkers during times of distress. Two examples are distributing coats throughout the winter months and delivering food to flood victims in the Hudson Valley.
The Challenges We Face
Rusty Staub’s sustained dedication to promoting access to healthy food for New Yorkers in need reflects a sophisticated understanding of the issues and challenges we face in today’s environment. An increase in obesity among poor families, the rising cost of food, and the decrease in government funds for emergency food programs are some of the forces exerting increased pressure on low income parents seeking to provide nutritious food for their children.
These forces include:
- Recession leading to increased demand: According to a 2009 report by the Food Bank for New York City, NYC Hunger Experience: A Year in Recession, between 2003 and 2009, New York City has seen a 60% increase in the number of New York City residents experiencing difficulty affording needed food for themselves and their families. In turn, more than half (53%) of emergency food programs saw the number of first-time participants increase by 25% or more.
- Increase in the cost of healthy food: The cost of nutrient-dense food such as fresh produce has increased 19.5 per cent over 2007-2008, according to a study by researchers at the University of Washington. Increasingly, emergency food programs have become a primary source of such foods for low-income New Yorkers and their families. The Mobile Pantry provides fresh produce with every pantry bag.
3) Nutritionally dense foods: Mr. Staub strongly promotes the distribution of nutritionally dense foods, such as fresh vegetables and fruits that when available cost residents nearly ten times as much as high calorie but nutritionally deficient food. For example, a recent study by researchers at the University of Washington found that “calorie for calorie, junk foods not only cost less than fruits and vegetables, but junk food prices are less likely to rise as a result of inflation.” According to the study, if an individual consumes a 2,000-calorie diet consisting of junk food, they would pay $3.62 per day. A 2,000 calorie diet in nutritionally rich foods would cost the same consumer $36.32 per day.1
Current Program Sites
Lt. Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. Community Center Projected Annual Meals: 60,000
(Central and East Harlem)
St. Cecilia’s Church Projected Annual Meals: 130,000
Washington Heights Ecumenical Pantry Projected Annual Meals: 330,000
Four Mobile Unit sites Projected Annual Meals: 100,000
- Catholic Charities Community Center
- St. Peter’s Church
- St. Paul’s Church
- Immaculate Conception Church
- After school program
Mobile Unit Site Projected Annual Meals: 110,000
Highbridge Community Center (South Bronx)
The Dr. White Community Center (Fort Greene) Projected Annual Meals: 20,000
Food and Nutrition Center (Jamaica) Projected Annual Meals: 200,000
Total Projected Meals FY 2009-2010: 950,000