City Harvest Thanks New Yorkers for COVID Help with “Love Letter” Billboard

City Harvest, New York’s first and largest food rescue organization
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Photo: Lori Cannava

As we approach the one-year anniversary of the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City, City Harvest, New York’s first and largest food rescue organization, today launched its new “It Takes a City to Feed a City” campaign to thank the tens of thousands of New Yorkers who have stepped up to help feed our neighbors in need during the crisis.

Featured on a billboard in Times Square and on one of City Harvest’s food rescue trucks, the love letter to New Yorkers will feature photographs of many of the more than 80,000 New Yorkers who have donated to, worked for, and volunteered with City Harvest and the millions who have been served by the organization since the pandemic began in March 2020. The mosaic will also feature many prominent supporters, including Richard Gere, Bridget Moynahan and Brooks Nader, as well as members of the City Harvest Food Council like Eric Ripert, Geoffrey Zakarian, Melba Wilson, Emma Bengsston and many others.

“New Yorkers always step up for each other, especially when times are tough,” said City Harvest CEO Jilly Stephens. “During the COVID-19 pandemic, tens of thousands of New Yorkers have donated food, made contributions or volunteered their time to help their neighbors in need. On behalf of the countless New Yorkers who were able to have meals on their tables this year because of that generosity, we want to say, ‘Thank you, from the bottom of our hearts.’”

More than one in three New Yorkers visited a food pantry this year, according to a report by Robin Hood. Even before the pandemic, 2.5 million working-age New Yorkers were struggling to make ends meet, largely in the Black and brown communities that City Harvest has long served. Many of those same communities were also hit particularly hard by the COVID-19 virus itself, then felt the added pain of the economic crisis that followed.

As part of the “It Takes a City to Feed a City” campaign, City Harvest is posting an interactive mosaic billboard at 20 Times Square (47th Street & 7th Avenue), featuring the faces of hundreds of community members, volunteers, food donors, supporters, partners, and staff. The mosaic will also be wrapped on one of the organization’s food rescue trucks that rescue and deliver food, free of charge, to more than 400 food pantries and soup kitchens across the five boroughs.


  • 77,525 New Yorkers, including 814 corporate partners, have generously fueled City Harvest’s food rescue work through financial contributions
  • 3,115 dedicated volunteers have joined the organization, both virtually and on the front lines, to help nourish our neighbors
  • 1,473 local and national food donors, including 121 local restaurants, have donated food to City Harvest to be distributed to more than 400 food pantries and soup kitchens across the city.

City Harvest has partnered to open 29 emergency food distribution sites in high-need neighborhoods.

The Times Square billboard placement—which will run at 20 Times Square for a month beginning February 18—was made possible through the generous support and commitment of Maefield Development and its Chairman Mark Siffin. Special thanks to Times Square Alliance and its Acting President Tom Harris for their endless energy in caring for America’s Town Square, Times Square, and to Clear Channel, for its help in organizing the time and transmission of the broadcast. Special thanks, as well, to LA Photo Party for their support.

“We are pleased to be a consistent partner in the support of City Harvest’s critical mission, broadcasting its message to the globe, from the world’s most viewed and visited place, Times Square” said Maefield Development Chairman Mark Siffin.

“We are proud to be involved in New York’s largest food rescue organization through City Harvest, especially during such a critical time of need,” said Rick McVey, Chairman and CEO of MarketAxess. “The direct impact on our New York City community certainly hits home for us, and we are gratified to support an organization that is doing a tremendous amount of important work to feed those in need.”

Thank you to our partners who made the mosaic possible: McGraw Hill, Coney Island Brewery, WSP, HarperCollins Publishers, Southern Glazer's Wine and Spirits, BlackRock, Wafra, Ulla Johnson, Blue Apron, Krasdale Foods in partnership with CTown and Bravo supermarkets, Michelob ULTRA, Cerberus, MarketAxess, Joele Frank, Blue Wolf Capital Partners, and Experience-Interaction.

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