With the Thanksgiving holiday season approaching, many New Yorkers will not have food on their table. What can we do about this? I called my friend Noah Lukeman of Project Oatmeal and he pointed out to me that for only 15 cents a day, we can put a healthy, nutritious meal on the plate of a hungry New Yorker. That feat would be remarkable anywhere -- and is even more so in New York City, the most expensive city in the country. Many of the hungry, including children, the elderly and those with disabilities, have no way to work, and they face hunger every day as a serious struggle.
Living in one of the wealthiest cities, we often don't see the tremendous hunger before our eyes. But it is very real. People will stand outdoors for hours in freezing temperatures hoping to bring home some food. Some wait on line on behalf of friends or family members who are too ill to wait in line themselves. Often food pantries run out of food, and not everyone gets fed.
At the top of the "most needed" food list is oatmeal. Oatmeal is desirable for many reasons: it is inexpensive, highly nutritious, light to transport and has a long shelf life; it also lowers cholesterol, is a good breakfast food, and is safe for all stratums of society, from children to the elderly. It also tends to put a smile on people's faces.
With the philosophy of focusing on one simple, direct way to help, Project Oatmeal's goal is to provide one of the most needed foods to New York's hungriest. With 100 percent of donated funds going directly to oatmeal and zero percent overhead, Project Oatmeal continually finds the best price for oatmeal in the nation, buys it direct from the manufacturer and has it shipped directly to the people who need it most: New York's hungry, in New York's hardest hit neighborhoods. For the last two years, we have worked diligently, and according to our records, have raised over $100,000 and provided over 600,000 meals of oatmeal.
Project Oatmeal partners with The Food Bank for New York City, a nonprofit 501(c)3 and New York's major hunger-relief organization for the past 26 years. The Food Bank processes the donations, uses its buying power to continually obtain the best possible price for oatmeal, and coordinates distribution and shipping. As an independent, nonprofit 501(c)3 organization, the Food Bank meets the Better Business Bureau's charity standards, and is a certified member of both Feeding America and the Food Bank Association of New York State. The Food Bank has generously agreed to waive any and all overhead associated with the delivery.
On any given day, the BedStuy Campaign Against Hunger, one of New York's largest food pantry, will serve, on average, 300 people. Their goal is to not have to turn away any of them without at least one canister of oatmeal to bring home to their families. Project Oatmeal's goal is to provide one canister of oatmeal per day to 300 people, for an entire year.
You can make this happen. All we ask is for 15 cents a day, or a one-time donation of $54.75 a year, so that we can feed one person one canister of oatmeal each day for 365 days.