There is no time to donate money to charity like the present—though the holidays surely get the ball rolling. This year, Kristina Graeber—Director of Programs at the Anne Saxelby Legacy Fund—shares a list of her favorite food-related organizations (including ASLF of course) in hopes of furthering donations among New York readers, and then some.
A special quote from Kristina on this year’s giving list: “Food can be so life-changing: to have enough, to learn about how it is produced, and to experience it in a way that excites the senses—it’s alchemy. I love working for the Anne Saxelby Legacy Fund because we get to witness the “a-ha moments” that come along with a transformative encounter with food. Our work with ASLF allows us to partner with other incredible nonprofits on this list like ReThinkFood, Emma’s Torch, and the Food Education Fund. These organizations, along with ASLF, are creating opportunities I wish I had known about when I was a young person. I’m proud to be in their company and have great admiration for the work that they do.”
The Anne Saxelby Legacy Fund provides month-long paid apprenticeships for young adults to live on sustainable farms — to work, learn, and be inspired to create change in their communities. Their partner farms range from urban to rural; they serve as a gathering place, a food source, an opportunity for continued education, and a connection to nature. The Fund commits to paying a living wage, as well as covering all living expenses so that their apprentices may be fully present. Their education is rooted in experience: they not only learn the labor (the kidding, seeding, cultivating, nurturing, weeding, milking, breeding, harvesting, and composting), but they will also gain insight into the larger picture of food production and distribution, culturally relevant crop selection, and community cultivation. The aim of ASLF is a cultural shift towards slow, quality agriculture as more young adults learn about the ingredients that feed us from sustainable-minded farmers, some of the most important teachers in the world.
Founded in 1983—Food Bank for NYC is the city’s largest hunger-relief organization. The food bank has served over 1.2 billion meals across five boroughs over the past 40 years. On top of essential food distribution, Food Bank for NYC provides income support, including free SNAP assistance and tax preparation services to low-income New Yorkers. With a wide-ranging member network and pool of volunteers, the organization is able to facilitate nutrition education programs and political advocacy on top of its direct food services.
West Side Campaign against hunger works to make healthy food accessible for high-need New Yorkers—partnering with community-based organizations to deliver food to people’s doorsteps. These partnerships, or “hubs,” supply pre-packed boxes of food to homes and workplaces in Manhattan, The Bronx, Queens, and Brooklyn. In 2017, the campaign started its Mobile Market partnership—a resource now available across Manhattan and The Bronx. The organization’s benefits Access Department offers SNAP benefits to eligible customers, as well as information on shelters, financial counseling, tax preparation, legal assistance, and more.
Rethink Food addresses the abundance of food waste in the United States, delivering millions of nutritious meals to high-need residents. The organization bridges community-based groups and local restaurants for supply and delivery, then transforms excess food into delicious meals through its sustainable commissary kitchen. Rethink Food’s New York sector offers residents of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, and The Bronx meals made possible by a passionate team of chefs, volunteers, and donors.
Started as a supper club in 2015, founders and partners Yin Chang and Moonlynn Tsai shifted towards servicing meals for elderly Asian Americans after the pandemic hit in 2020. Now, the pair delivers care packages—including nutritionally-dense lunches and fresh groceries—to Asian American seniors every Wednesday. These care packages include a handwritten letter in the recipient’s native language. Not only does this program provide delicious, healthy food—it addresses issues of social isolation among elders facing food insecurity across New York City.
Wellness in the Schools is a national organization that facilitates better nutrition and healthy movement in schools. With three internal programs—‘feed kids real food,’ ‘let kids play,’ and ‘get kids green’—the nonprofit is able to curate healthier cafeteria menus, increase physical exercise throughout the school week, and provide education on sustainable consumption through hands-on gardening opportunities.
The Food Education Fund is a culinary and hospitality education program that serves young people across all 5 boroughs of New York. The organization brings in professional chefs to teach virtual and in-person lessons, hosts career festivals and gives students the opportunity to dine out at some of the city’s best restaurants. They also facilitate a culinary summer camp for incoming freshmen!
Inspired by 19th century advocate Emma Lazarus—author of “The New Colossus”—Emma’s Torch works to provide refugees with culinary education and career support. According to the organization’s mission page, Emma’s Torch aspires towards “a country where refugees are welcomed as drivers of the economy and as enhancers of their communities.” This culinary training does not come without alternative aid—including access to medical and child care, English language lessons, and affordable housing.
Though our staff snuck this one in, One Love Community Fridge also gracefully targets food insecurity in New York City by filling community fridges in Brooklyn and Manhattan. With its donation pool, One Love distributes fresh produce among community fridges to ensure none are left empty.