Nonprofit to Watch: Interview with City Harvest

City Harvest helped start the food rescue movement in 1982 when a group of New Yorkers saw that New York City had an abundance of excess food even while a large number of its residents struggled to feed themselves and their families. 


Today, City Harvest is New York City’s largest food rescue organization, helping to feed the more than 1.5 million New Yorkers who are struggling to put meals on their tables. City Harvest will rescue 111 million pounds of food this year and deliver it, free of charge, to hundreds of food pantries, soup kitchens and other community partners across New York's five boroughs.


Check out our interview with Raffaella Glasser, Network Capacity Manager at City Harvest, below: 


What is food rescuing/how does City Harvest work as a food rescue organization?

Food rescue is the process of safely recovering excess food and redistributing it to people in need. In the United States alone, as much as 40% of the food we produce is wasted. The food that is rescued is perfectly good and healthy to consume and by redirecting it to food pantries, soup kitchens and other agencies who serve our neighbors in need, we reduce waste and fight hunger through food rescue. 

City Harvest is New York’s first and largest food rescue organization, helping to feed millions of New Yorkers who struggle to put meals on their tables. To date (since our inception in 1982!), City Harvest has rescued and delivered more than 1 billion pounds of nutritious food for New Yorkers.


What are City Harvest’s current stand-out projects and programs? 

As the city emerges from the COVID-19 pandemic, we will rescue 111 million pounds of fresh, nutritious food and deliver it – free of charge- to nearly 400 food pantries, soup kitchens, community partners and our own Mobile Markets® across the five boroughs. Through our programming, we work alongside our community partners to boost their capacity, expand nutrition education and strengthen local food systems. 

  • City Harvest operates nine Mobile Markets across the five boroughs, which distribute fresh fruits and vegetable free of charge to thousands of New Yorkers each month. Community members gather to receive produce, take part in health and wellness demonstrations, and learn how to make healthy meals.
  • The City Harvest Nutrition Education Team partners with community organizations in all five boroughs to offer nutrition education classes – all for free. Each class is tailored for children, teenagers, parents and seniors and focuses on teaching easy, healthy recipes, buying groceries on a budget, and how to read nutrition labels.
  • In partnership with the United Way for New York City and the New York Food Assistance Collaborative, we developed Plentiful, a free, easy to-use mobile reservation tool for community food programs and the people we serve.


What programming, project, event are you most excited about in the coming months or next year? 

My team just launched two new grant opportunities for our agency network that I am very excited about! The grants fund the purchase of new technology and support personnel costs.


How can someone get involved with City Harvest?

DONATE: The best way to support City Harvest’s work is by donating funds, so we can continue to swiftly respond to the increasing and unprecedented need. To donate, visit

VOLUNTEER: City Harvest was founded by a group of volunteers in 1982, and before COVID-19, nearly 10,000 volunteers donate their time each year. Visit to learn how to help. 

ADVOCATE: Join City Harvest in advocating for critical city, state, and federal policies to help uplift New Yorkers through the long recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. View our policy platform for ways you can help advocate for our neighbors in need: 

To get involved, please visit and follow us on social media: • Facebook: @cityharvestnyc • Instagram: @cityharvestnyc • Twitter: @cityharvest


You can also can involved with City Harvest on Deed here


If $10 was donated today on Deed to City Harvest, what would that go towards?

Every dollar donated goes toward our work rescuing and delivering food for New Yorkers in need. And, just $1 helps City Harvest rescue and deliver enough food to feed two New Yorkers for a day. 


How does City Harvest partner with companies to help food-insecure New Yorkers access nutritious food? 

We are able to deliver 111 million pounds of good food this year thanks to the generous support of hundreds of corporate and foundation funders. As New York City’s largest private response to hunger, corporate support plays a crucial role in City Harvest’s mission every day.

Companies can get involved with City Harvest by volunteering (it’s a terrific team building experience!), by sponsoring event, hosting a digital fundraiser, becoming a food donor and more! Companies can learn more about ways to work with us here.

We also rely on various businesses within the food industry to donate nutritious food to us year-round. We rescue food from restaurants, grocery stores, farms, greenmarkets, and more. 


How has working with Deed supported the work you do with City Harvest?

Deed is an extremely valuable resource for our community partners. Many of the food pantries and soup kitchens in our network have shared that they struggle with volunteer recruitment and management as well as connecting with companies that can help further their work. It is great to be able to share Deed with our partners as it allows them to connect with volunteers and donors who want to get involved.


You recently did a webinar with our Deed team. What was that like? What did you discuss?

In October, we worked with the Deed team to host a webinar for our network of food pantry, soup kitchen, and community partners. We had a great experience working with the team! Deed is an extremely valuable resource for our partners and we were thrilled to be able to share it with them and discuss how they can use the platform for their volunteer, donor recruitment, and management needs. The Deed team did an amazing job showing attendees how to register, how to create Deeds, and how to use the website to fit their unique needs.


In 2-3 sentences, can you describe your role at City Harvest, how long you’ve worked there, etc.?

I am a Manager on the Network Capacity Team at City Harvest. In my role, I work with our agency network to help them become the best agencies they can be by supporting them as they build out their organizational capacity. Our team provides resources such as 1:1 virtual coaching, a digital resource page, monthly newsletters, workshops and trainings, and more! I have been at City Harvest since March of 2021.


When was the first time you volunteered? What did you do?

The first time I volunteered I was probably 7 or 8 years old; I am a huge animal lover and started volunteering at a local shelter where I got to hang out and play with new cats to help get them socialized. It was so sweet.


What is your pet cause or a nonprofit you love, other than City Harvest?

I love the work of the Sunrise Movement!


If you were a fictional character, who would you be and why? 

If I could, I would definitely want to be in the Harry Potter universe, I love that they can magically travel anywhere in the world in the blink of an eye!

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