During the COVID outbreak, New Yorkers knew restaurants, the lifeblood of NYC, were struggling to survive. Not many realized many public school students were also struggling. New York City has one of the highest rates of food insecure students and often times, those very students are homeless, transient or live with family who are essential workers and more likely to be exposed to COVID.
Feeding students safely was an urgent problem. We saw the opportunity to help students eat BY helping restaurants so jumped into to figure out how.
Within two weeks we launched a prototype of Treat Your Block, an idea centered on serving two vulnerable communities with one digital food delivery gift card. We fundraised, worked with social workers at schools to identify food insecure students, and emailed Seamless food delivery gift cards to students.
We raised over $4,000 in two months and lifted up the NYC community during a time of fear, uncertainty, and fierce insecurity. We also designed a new system for food security. But what we’re most proud of is helping students feel cared for, get food delivered safely, and feel empowered to treat themselves or their parents to a warm meal without it being stigmatized.