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City Harvest ‘Skip Lunch, Fight Hunger’ campaign seeks to raise $1.1M for NYC children in need

City Harvest’s goal to raise $1.1 million would feed 50,000 children from June to September, per the nonprofit.

City Harvest launches its

City Harvest launches its "Skip Lunch, Fight Hunger," campaign on May 14. Photo Credit: Ben Hider for City Harvest

Bringing lunch to work for just one day this week could help feed 60 New York City children in need — that’s the message from City Harvest as the nonprofit kicks off its “Skip Lunch, Fight Hunger” campaign.

The annual initiative, now in its 16th year, seeks to raise $1.1 million between Monday and Friday to help feed thousands of kids this summer by asking New Yorkers to skip buying lunch for one day and donate the money they would usually spend to City Harvest instead.

Nicole Sumner, the organization’s business partnerships manager, said on Thursday that $1.1 million would feed 50,000 children from June to September.

“Anyone can make such a large difference with such a small gift,” she added.

Children are the most vulnerable to food insecurity in New York City, according to City Harvest, with one in five kids unsure where their next meal will come from.

“Which is really just a shocking and heartbreaking number. That, in itself, is why this campaign is so important,” Sumner said.

A single New Yorker could feed 60 children by donating the $15 that is typically spent on lunch in the city, according to nonprofit.

Although the campaign only lasts five days, Sumner said City Harvest begins to reach out to past participants and companies that have previously created donation teams in the beginning of the year to allow them time to get teams together and start planning fundraising events like pot lucks and raffles.

Citi Bank, JPMorgan Chase, Pret A Manger and Penguin Random House are among the dozens of businesses participating this year.

“We really find that it’s a lot of companies that have worked with City Harvest in the past,” Sumner added. “[Companies] that want to make a difference out there with their employees.”

But you don’t need to be on a team to make a difference, any New Yorkers can donate to the campaign by going to cityharvest.org.

“You can choose to donate to a team or you can choose to donate to our whole campaign,” Sumner explained.

City Harvest, which rescues excess food from industry partners around the city, will use the “Skip Lunch, Fight Hunger” donations to increase operations in order to serve more families.

“We have trucks that are out all day, every day rescuing food and delivering it to those in need,” Sumner said.

Another way New Yorkers can help: Pret A Manger has turned its signature Harvest cookie into a “City Harvest cookie,” which is on sale for $1.99 each throughout the duration of the campaign.

Pret A Manger has donated its excess food at the end of every business day to City Harvest for 18 years, and 100 percent of the proceeds from City Harvest cookie sales will go toward the campaign.

Since “Skip Lunch, Fight Hunger” launched in 2002, the initiative has raised $7 million — enough to feed over 25,570 families for an entire year, according to City Harvest.

“It really resonates with so many people because it’s so incredible to see the impact of one person to feed children in need,” Sumner added. “That’s just really powerful, I think, when sometimes people feel like a single person can’t make a difference.”

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