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Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Emergency Coronavirus Meals Rot on NYC Streets As Many Home-Bound New Yorkers Go Hungry

Emergency meals that were mistakingly sent to Elena TavarezElena Tavarez
Many people of all ages - elderly, middle-aged, and young - go to sleep (or try to) every night, hungry. And these people have no idea about where or when their next meal will come.

For this reason, the huge amount of food thrown out every day due to NY City's shameful mismanagement of donated food items is extremely shocking.

Mayor de Blasio, the buck stops with you. What are you doing???????????

Fix this.

Betsy Combier

Free meals meant for NYC’s needy left at wrong address — since May
Julia Marsh, NY POST, July 29, 2020

They just can’t get it right.
Emergency city coronavirus meals meant for the needy have since May been showing up outside the home of a Brooklyn woman who never requested the free food — despite her weekly calls to 311 about the mixup.
“It’s just crazy to me that there’s no way to actually get in contact with them to make a correction,” Windsor Terrace resident Elena Tavarez told The Post.
The city’s GetFoodNYC delivers meals to New Yorkers struggling from the COVID-19 pandemic as Mayor Bill de Blasio has said 2 million people don’t have enough to eat this summer.
“It’s horrible and we feel terrible because it keeps getting left outside and we’re not aware of it so I can’t even donate it because the food is rotten half the time,” she said. A couple times she has managed to rescue the misdirected deliveries and post the free food on a local Facebook page for redistribution.
Tavarez says the deliveries — made by out-of-work taxi drivers — are totally random though she said three to four boxes a week typically get dumped in different places around the outside of their private home.
“Today there were about six meals left that were supposed to be frozen. The other day we got three boxes and each box had about nine meals in it so about 18 meals.
“Some are fresh fruit; the ones today were like a chicken parmesan and pasta bolognese and a salmon,” she recounted.
Tavarez said 311 dispatchers take her complaint but claim there’s no way for her to contact the food program directly — and the messages don’t appear to be getting through.
“I have called a minimum at least once a week if not more than that,” Tavarez said.
She’s also left messages for the delivery people on her front door alerting them to the problem, but it continues.
A spokesman for the GetFoodNYC said the mix-up occurred after a program client listed an incorrect address for deliveries on two occasions. GetFoodNYC learned of the problem via Tavarez’s 311 calls, but only one of the entries was corrected.
“This was a unique case, the result of a technical error where an individual was in the system twice. We appreciate it being brought to our attention and have stopped deliveries to this address,” the spokesman said.
But earlier this week The Post exclusively reported that someone ditched 34 boxes of GetFoodNYC meals near a Queens highway overpass. A city Department of Sanitation worker eventually came to toss the spoiled food into his garbage truck– eight hours after a concerned passerby called 311 about the issue.
In April another Post investigation revealed that seniors, including a Holocaust survivor keeping Kosher, were going hungry because of the program's many missteps.

The outrageous sign of waste — after Mayor Bill de Blasio predicted up to 2 million New Yorkers would go hungry this summer amid the pandemic — was enough to make passers-by sick.
“Why wouldn’t you go give it to people in the streets?” local resident Juan Heno said of the 34 brown cardboard boxes of food piled on top of each other along a concrete wall below the Queens-Midtown Expressway, around 57-45 74th St., in Middle Village.
“The city has a lot of homeless right now,” Heno noted to The Post.
The resident said he spotted the boxes — slapped with white labels and black lettering reading, “GetFoodNYC, COVID-19 Emergency Food Distribution, Packed on July 24th, Delivery by July 31st” — in the broiling heat around 9:30 a.m.
He said he called the city’s 311 hotline and was told someone would pick them up — but they were still laying out in the sun more than eight hours later.
Inside the boxes — part of the de Blasio administration’s much-touted program to feed the hungry during the country’s economic crisis — were plastic containers filled with food.
Some of the containers, marked “VEGETARIAN” and “CONTAINS NUTS,” held a bag of multigrain pretzel Pepperidge Farm goldfish, what appeared to be a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and a small plastic container with part of a granola bar.
Another meal package held dried fruit and nuts, a granola bar, dried edamame, and a bagel in plastic with a small cream-cheese packet.
The office of local city Councilman Robert Holden told The Post that a constituent texted photos of the wasted food to them and that he was reaching out to the city to see what happened.
“This is absolutely inexcusable, no matter how this food got there,” the councilman told The Post.
“So many New Yorkers have been desperate for a little extra food to help them get by during this pandemic, so it’s unfathomable to see perfectly good meals go to waste like this. This demands a thorough investigation by City Hall immediately.”
Neighborhood resident Sue Purcarin was just as distressed.
“It’s supposed to go to people,” she said of the food, which she saw by the side of the road in the afternoon. “This is horrible.
“Somebody didn’t want to do their job, and they decided, ‘OK, let me just dump it here.’ ”
The city Sanitation Department, which transports the food, said in a statement, “This is unacceptable, and no driver will be paid for incomplete deliveries.
“We have distributed over 100 million free emergency meals, but anyone who misses a delivery should let us know immediately at or by calling 311 so we can get them the food they need.”