2020 Impact Report Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York & Food Bank of the HUdson Valley

Dear Friends,

An Annual Report is designed to summarize an organization’s activities and accomplishments over the course of a year. To truly capture what the Regional Food Bank faced and achieved in 2020 would probably take several Annual Reports, or at least a very lengthy one.

COVID-19 ravaged our nation and local communities in many ways. Hundreds of thousands of our neighbors struggled with economic hardships and food insecurity, many for the first time in their lives. When the full force of COVID hit in mid-March, we were challenged at the Food Bank to respond to the need in a meaningful way. But we did, and we owe it all to our dedicated, hard- working staff, deeply committed Board of Directors, and generous, caring supporters. As soon as people knew others and the Food Bank were in need, they reached out and offered all kinds of assistance. The following list is just a brief summary of all the ways individuals, businesses, and other groups contributed to address the historic rise in hunger in 2020.

  • Food: Donations from the food industry, Feeding America, New York State, federal government, and individuals through food drives
  • Money: Contributions large and small from foundations, businesses, churches, civic organizations, and regular citizens
  • Warehouse Space: Donated space to house our volunteer operation when we could no longer bring as many people on-site at the Food Bank
  • Pallet Handling Equipment and Racking: Forklifts and pallet jacks to use in the donated warehouse space and pallet racking for the new cooler we built to handle all the fresh food we were receiving
  • Trucking: Donated transportation to deliver food to drive-thru pantries, shuttle product between warehouses, and transfer food to our branch warehouse in the lower Hudson Valley and back to Latham
  • Volunteers: People giving of themselves despite COVID risks; we could not have operated without them
  • Member Agencies: Food pantries staying open, again despite the risks of COVID, and modifying their operations to serve people when the need was greater than ever
  • Drive-Thru Pantry Partners: Community groups that brought together volunteers and other resources to provide this vital source of food where local resources could not fully meet the need
  • Good Will: Kind words, letters, and emails of support and encouragement to brighten our days and inspire us to do more

We made a huge difference in people’s lives in 2020 and in the process strengthened the Regional Food Bank and positioned ourselves to respond to the needs of our hungry neighbors even more effectively than in the past. We are very grateful to everyone who helped make our work possible.


Mark Quandt, Executive Director

Dear Friends,

When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping. -Fred Rogers (aka “Mr. Rogers”)

The COVID-19 pandemic is, for most of us, one of the scariest things we have experienced and part of that has been the stark realization that so many more people who never reached out to a food pantry have had to do so because of the severe economic impact caused by COVID. For example, our food distribution in the lower Hudson Valley increased from 16 million pounds of food in 2019 to 22 million pounds by the end of 2020. Yet, because of helpers such as our dedicated Board of Advisors, donors, staff, and over 6,000 volunteers who came to sort the food, we have met this formidable need. Our communities rallied to arrange drive-thru pantries, food deliveries to senior citizen centers and more. Our helpers worked tirelessly to ensure that anyone who needed food could get it.

Patria, a city of Newburgh resident, has experienced the work of many people at a drive-thru pantry in Newburgh, NY. She and her husband Marvin have four children and she has not worked in eight months due to the pandemic and health issues, but she can feed her family because of our helpers. Patria is one of thousands of people who found a silver lining in this dark time.

We are so grateful to the thousands of helpers who have risen to the challenge of this time and we are confident that they will continue to do so as long as necessary. We didn’t have to look for them because they were always there filling every need. We will forever remember the difference that they have made during this past year.


Sara A. Gunn, Director, Food Bank of the Hudson Valley

2020 distribution highlights

55,781,898 pounds were distributed in 23 counties, the equivalent of 46.5 million meals - nearly 40% more than in 2019.

In any month, 350,000 individuals were served by over 1,000 partner agencies and programs.

Photo by Bread of Life Agape

98% of our partner agencies remained open throughout the worst of the pandemic, adjusting their operations to safely serve up to 40-50% more people, with many offering prepackaged bags or curbside pick-up.

focused on nutrition

food distribution by category

More than 80% of our distributed food is comprised of healthy staples like fruits and vegetables, grains, dairy, meat, and other protein.

In addition to food, the Food Bank also provided 8.8 million pounds of non-food items like household paper products, personal hygiene items, cleaning products, and more.

71,908 pounds of produce were harvested for our member agencies from our Patroon Land Farm.

Photo by Erica Miller, Daily Gazette

To safely and efficiently manage the increased flow of food, particularly the highly beneficial fresh meat, dairy, and produce, the Food Bank opened an additional refrigerated warehouse.

a pandemic strikes

Drive-thru pantries became a safe, contactless, and efficient way to help hundreds of families in just a few short hours, with food going "from truck to trunk." More than 300 drive-thru distributions were held throughout our service area in 2020.

Photo by Colonie Senior Services

Because seniors were especially vulnerable to the virus, we expanded our Senior Food Delivery Program from five sites to 24 sites, providing more than 487,000 meals to 14,280 seniors.

background photo by Erica Miller, Daily Gazette

In late March, the Food Bank launched Community Table, a program to provide food to restaurant and hospitality workers who were especially hard hit by mandated business closings. 34,300 meals were provided.

One of Just Say Yes to Fruits and Vegetables' final in-person presentations before the pandemic in February 2020.

Just Say Yes to Fruits and Vegetables, the Food Bank’s Nutrition Education Program, pivoted to Online Classes, focusing on healthy eating on a budget and maintaining physical activity during the pandemic.

Old and new food donors stepped up to ensure our shelves were always stocked and ready for the long-haul.

Individuals, foundations, corporations, and clubs supported us with monetary contributions, allowing us to continue scaling our services to meet the increased need.

In early May, Governor Cuomo created the Nourish NY program to provide food banks funds to purchase surplus agricultural products from our state’s farmers and producers. The team at the NYS Department of Agriculture & Markets connected food banks with available resources, resulting in a classic “win-win.” We received more than 3.2 million pounds of food including dairy, eggs, produce, pasta, and more from 39 New York State growers and producers.

In 2020, we received more than 30 million pounds of food and non-food grocery items from:

  • distribution centers
  • farmers
  • foodservice companies
  • manufacturers
  • retail stores
  • truckers
  • wholesalers/brokers
  • Feeding America
  • food drives

The Food Bank’s Children’s Programs provided over 3.3 million meals to 9,000 children in 2020, 91% more than was distributed in 2019.

94% of our 250 BackPack partners operated their programs without interruption to continue supporting struggling families. We increased the volume and variety of food in the bags by 66%, and sent home additional fresh produce, frozen meat, and dairy products to schools with the capacity to safely store and distribute it.

The flexibility of our School Pantry Program allowed 40 partner schools to continue feeding hungry teens as their circumstances and needs changed.

When the school year ended, we expanded our Summer BackPack Program to serve more communities and families than ever before. We provided over 250,000 meals to 2,500 children in 50 communities.

the power of partnerships

When The Rosenblum Companies learned we were unable to accommodate the number of volunteers we needed while maintaining social distancing, they offered one of their warehouse spaces free of charge so we could allow volunteers lots of space to spread out.

Pengate Handling Systems provided the Food Bank free rental of pallet jacks, forklifts, and chargers, and AE Rosen Electrical installed them at no cost.

These priceless contributions allowed the Food Bank to safely host volunteers at a time when they were more needed than ever.

Companies like Remarkable Liquids, Saratoga Eagle, and SYSCO offered to make deliveries to help the Food Bank keep up with the demand.

Photo by St. Peter's Health Partners

The Food Bank launched a partnership with St. Peter’s Health Partners to mitigate health implications of food insecurity in patients with diabetes and cancer diagnoses. Clients receive consistent access to healthy and nutritious foods, nutrition education, and recipes to improve their overall health.

Long-time friends did all they could to raise funds for the Food Bank, like Markertek, who held their Annual Charity Golf Open in socially distanced style.

Times Union Center

Spring and early summer saw many counties and municipalities, like Albany (above) and Schenectady (background), turning large gathering spaces like gyms and arenas into food distribution hubs. This allowed them to efficiently meet the needs of tens of thousands of people, many of whom were quarantined or unemployed and in need of food assistance for the first time in their lives.

Some Food Bank fundraising committees pivoted to virtual, take-out events to raise crucial funding, like our Chefs & Vintners’ Harvest Dinner and Farm-to-Fork Feast.

While others, like our Golf Classic committee, sponsored and staffed a drive-thru pantry to help the community on the day the tournament would have been held.

Partners like BSNB, Capital District Area Labor Federation, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany, and more stepped up to host and staff hundreds of drive-thru pantries.

background photo by HVCC

alleviating hunger...together

As essential, front-line workers, the majority of Food Bank staff members reported to work in-person each and every day.

3,350 new volunteers signed up to help after the pandemic hit in Mid-March.

Photo by Office of NY Governor Andrew Cuomo

We hosted volunteers at four different sites: Regional Food Bank’s main warehouse, Northway Lane warehouse, the Patroon Land Farm, and Food Bank of the Hudson Valley’s warehouse.

Social distancing guidelines and group size mandates cut our group sizes in half, yet more than 12,000 total volunteers contributed 50,720 total volunteer hours!

Photo by Troy Kiwanis Club

More than 7.9 million pounds of product were sorted and repacked by volunteers in 2020, the equivalent of 6.6 million meals!

the end of an era

Mark Quandt began his career at the Food Bank in 1983 when the Food Bank was serving just 60 agencies in 8 counties and distributing 400,000 pounds of food. He was promoted to Executive Director in 1984. In March of 2021, he announced his plan to retire. The Food Bank would not be what it is today were it not for his leadership. Thank you, Mark, for your 38 years of dedicated service. Best wishes for your retirement!

Row 1: Mark in the warehouse; Mark at the 2011 Golf Classic; Mark with representatives from our retail store donors on the 25th anniversary of the Program in 2017. Row 2: Paul Tonko & Mark at the 2004 Capital Campaign Celebration; 2007 Chefs & Vintners' Harvest Dinner; Mark with the Food Bank’s first food donor, Freihofer’s. Row 3: Volunteering at the Patroon Land Farm in 2018; Making his famous lemonade at the Agency BBQ. Row 4: Mark at his desk in the 1980s; Mark and Matilda Cuomo, chair of the Holiday Hunger Appeal, in the late 1980s

a plan for the future

Feeding America estimates there are currently 42 million people in the United States who are food insecure and believes it will take the food bank system five years to bring that number back down to the pre-pandemic level of 35 million.

Additionally, as in any time of emergency response, challenges in the system were exposed and lessons were learned. During this time, it became clear that there are both rural and urban areas in our 23 county service area that do not have adequate access to a food pantry. Senior citizens often have difficulty getting to a food pantry due to mobility and/or transportation issues. When children are out of school, they do not have access to the supplemental food they normally receive.

In response to these findings, we are investing in programs that develop new ways to bring food to our neighbors including:

  • The establishment of “Pop-Up” pantries in areas that are underserved. Pop-Up pantries are similar to the emergency drive-thru food distributions that were developed during the pandemic. These will be located in rural and urban areas that lack convenient access to one of our partner agencies.
  • The development and expansion of our Senior Food Delivery Program which brings food to low income senior housing sites allowing our mobility impaired seniors or those who lack transportation to obtain food close to home.
  • Enhancements to our school partnerships to allow the flexibility to provide food to children whether school is in session or not.
  • The construction of a new, expanded warehouse in the lower Hudson Valley to better meet the increased need for food in that region.
  • Undertaking an analysis of food insecurity data and comparing it to existing services to identify gaps and overlaps in service.
  • Increasing our advocacy efforts by naming a Chief Program and Advocacy Officer who is responsible for setting the agenda and executing an expanded hunger advocacy plan.

financial statements

Statement of Activities and Change in Net Assets: Year Ended December 31, 2020