FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 27, 2020
City of Kingston Emergency Food Hotline Launches
KINGSTON, NY – Mayor Noble is pleased to announce that, in conjunction with many community groups and dedicated volunteers, the City of Kingston has launched a food security hotline. Anyone in need of food within the Kingston City School District can call 888-316-0879 at any time and will be entered into a growing database to receive prepared food or grocery delivery. City staff and a host of volunteers from Rise Up Kingston and other organizations will be operating the hotline in both English and Spanish, and soon in K’iche.
The initiative, called the Kingston Emergency Food Collaborative, is a partnership of the community groups who sprang into action to provide meals to families as soon as the Kingston City schools were closed. The Kingston Emergency Food Collaborative began providing food to the community on March 18 and is now serving up to 1,000 prepared meals a day with thousands more meals provided through grocery deliveries.
Currently, home-delivered meals are being prepared by local restaurants through Ulster County’s Project Resilience, with an additional 600 meals prepared for home delivery by Family of Woodstock staff at the Everette Hodge Community Center. Once a family or individual calls the hotline, local volunteer teams based at the YMCA of Kingston will begin to deliver all these meals to residents in the City of Kingston and the Kingston City School District area within a few days.
Through the Kingston Emergency Food Collaborative program, People’s Place Pantry is distributing hundreds of bags of groceries, which equates to between 1,800-4,150 meals every day. Families or individuals requesting groceries can get deliveries up to twice a month. The People’s Place Community Cafe remains open and continues to serve approximately 150 takeout meals per day.
This home delivery program is a volunteer and collaborative effort of the following organizations:
Cornell Cooperative Extension of Ulster County
Family of Woodstock
Hudson Valley Farm Hub
Hudson Valley Seed
Kingston City School District
Kingston Food Coop
Kingston YMCA Farm Project
Rise Up Kingston
Ulster County Department of Health and Mental Health
Ulster County Community Action
YMCA of Kingston and Ulster
“It has been overwhelming to see the swift action from our community in helping their neighbors in need,” said Mayor Noble. “I want to thank and applaud every organization and individual who has stepped up during this time. The City is here to support these herculean efforts in any way we can.”
In order for Family of Woodstock to focus on mental health calls and other immediate needs, food-related calls to FOW will be forwarded to the Kingston Emergency Food Collaborative hotline and processed remotely by volunteers. The City of Kingston’s IT department and Rise Up Kingston staff created the hotline through a virtual call center, which distributes incoming calls to on-duty volunteers’ cell phones to limit exposure amongst volunteers.
In addition to funding the hotline, the City of Kingston contracted services with Family of Woodstock and People’s Place in the amount of $30,000 each to support their efforts in local food preparation and distribution.