With Thanksgiving just around the corner, one organization is looking to make a difference while also setting a new record.
City Harvest, a food rescue organization founded in 1982, will host its second annual 24-Hour Repackathon on Thursday in Long Island City with the mission to help feed hungry New Yorkers across the five boroughs over the winter and holidays.
“This is part of our initiative to keep shelves at food pantries stocked for the winter,” said Samantha Park, manager of communications for City Harvest. “For a lot of people they have to make the difficult choice between paying rent and putting food on the table for their children.”
During the event, which will be held at City Harvest’s LIC Food Rescue Facility located at 55-01 Second St., more than 300 volunteers will repack bulk food donations into family-sized packages for 24 hours straight.
Participants include members from corporations such as Bank of America, Credit Suisse, Wells Fargo and many others. Restaurants, including Astoria’s Butcher Bar, will also donate food for volunteers.
“It’s just a great way to give back. The holidays are around the corner and people are always thinking about ways they could help,” Park said. “These are big businesses in New York City giving back to the community.”
Starting at 5 p.m. Thursday, volunteers will arrive in groups of 50 for three-hour shifts in which they will repack packages that will go out to over 500 food pantries and soup kitchens across the city.
At last year’s inaugural 24-Hour Repackathon, City Harvest set a world record by repacking close to 215,000 pounds of food, according to Park. This year, the organization plans to surpass that record with the goal of repacking 225,000 pounds, enough to feed more than 2,000 families.
During the last shift on Friday, which will end at 5 p.m., special guest volunteers will include U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand and former New York Knicks player John Starks.
“There are times that we can all come together and help each other,” Park said. “That’s what our organization is all about, having New Yorkers come together and help each other out.”