Biting winter temperatures will not stop the Grand Central Food Program from serving our hungry neighbors in New York City

Since 1985, the Grand Central Food Program (GCFP) has been serving the hungry and homeless communities of New York City. And nothing stops our dedicated volunteers even in the winter months. Through snowfall, chilly nights, icy winds or freezing temperatures, 365 days a year, you will always find the Coalition for the Homeless vans out on the streets of our city.

January 2024: Executive Director, Dave Giffen handing out food at St. Barts.

The GCFP began the day after a homeless woman tragically died from starvation in Grand Central Station 39 years ago, and has since grown into the largest nightly mobile soup kitchen in America. Over those nearly decades, the GCFP has served as a source of hope for those struggling to survive on the harsh streets of our city.

Dave Giffen, Executive Director for the Coalition for the Homeless, was first connected to the Coalition through the GCFP.

“Back in 1988, as I was walking out of Grand Central Station on my daily commute, I met a man who had been living on the streets and got into a conversation with him. He shared his story with me and told me how he survived day to day. He explained that a group of volunteers from the Coalition for the Homeless brought him food every night, and told me I should call them myself to volunteer. I did, and the vital need for the Grand Central Program was immediately apparent. Over the past 35 years, I’ve seen countless lives changed – and saved – by this program. And the heart of the GCFP is the team of amazing volunteers who hand out the food, drive the vans, and, most importantly, bring the warmth of human connection and compassion to those struggling for survival on the streets. I am so grateful for the selflessness and dedication of our volunteers.

January 2024: one of the stops on the Downtown route, corner of Leonard and Lafayette Streets

Every night, our three vans roll out to 22 stops around the city, delivering over 1,000 nutritious meals of hot stew, bread, fresh fruit, and beverages, and also coats, socks, toiletries, and other essential hygiene items. The GCFP’s commitment to consistently serve the community has led to the distribution of over seven million meals since 1985, a testament to the longevity of the program.

Juan Del La Cruz is the Director of Emergency Relief Services at the Coalition for the Homeless. He’s been at the Coalition for 18 years and has seen the difference the program has made.

“GCFP serves our most vulnerable neighbors nightly. For many this is their only meal of the day. We often hear and are astonished at the distance traveled by our consumers. GCFP aims to treat each person with the respect and dignity deserved.”

Again, at the heart of the Grand Central Food Program are its volunteers, those who are committed to making a difference in the lives of homeless and hungry individuals and families. The Coalition for the Homeless is deeply grateful to these compassionate individuals who give their time and effort to help those in the greatest need.

The Grand Central Food Program demonstrates compassion and togetherness, while addressing an immediate need for many of our neighbors.

And the work will continue. If you would like to support the great work of the Grand Central Food Program, please consider donating to allow us to continue the work and serve even more individuals who need it.

January 2024: a family picking up food from the kitchen at St. Barts, Midtown.