How are food pantries responding to the COVID crisis? West Side Campaign Against Hunger (WSCAH) Executive Director Greg Silverman joins Billy Shore for a conversation about the impact COVID-19 is having on his work feeding New Yorkers on the street instead of in their food pantry. “Sometimes the best innovations happen when you have to make these things on the fly,” he notes. “COVID has, in a sense, pushed us forward on some of the ideas we were already hoping to do to reach more people.”
The burdens are increased for both customers served by WSCAH and its staff. “It’s hard to navigate the social safety net as fraying as it is in America,” explains Silverman. “We’re also not used to having staff feel that they’re putting their lives on the line.”
Listen to this important conversation with an anti-hunger activist and leader working around the clock at ground zero of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Resources and Mentions:
- No Kid Hungry (nokidhungry.org): Share Our Strength’s No Kid Hungry campaign is ending child hunger in America by ensuring all children get the healthy food they need, every day.
- Greg Silverman is the Executive Director of the West Side Campaign Against Hunger. Silverman is a chef, entrepreneur and longtime leader in the anti-hunger movement. Prior to WSCAH, he was the Managing Director of Wellness in the Schools where he led their national growth through innovative fundraising partnerships, expanding programmatic models, and retooling the long-term vision of the organization. Silverman also worked for Share Our Strength as the National Partnerships Director where he grew the No Kid Hungry Campaign and its national nutrition education efforts via the flagship Cooking Matters program. He was a chef and restaurant owner in Ithaca, NY, for a dozen years and earned a MSc in Food and Nutrition Policy from the City University of London.
- West Side Campaign Against Hunger is an emergency food pantry, culinary training and social service counseling center. Located in New York City, West Side Campaign Against Hunger has long been a leader in innovation in social services at emergency food pantries. In 1993, West Side Campaign Against Hunger invented the customer-choice model in which people select their own nutritious groceries from shelves rather than receiving pre-packaged supplies. The supermarket-style pantry allows people to choose food with dignity. The model also prevents waste by permitting people to select food that they will use rather than receive a bundle chosen by someone else.