This Entrepreneur Started Her Business to Offer Meals to New York City Hospital Workers

Stacy Rotner and GratiFoodNYC have donated over 3,000 meals since April.

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In early April, Stacy Rotner launched GratiFoodNYC, a grassroots initiative dedicated to sending gratitude through food. Rotner's first goal was to send meals to the frontline emergency and ICU department teams of doctors, nurses and staff at New York City hospitals.

After sharing her idea on Facebook, Rotner received nearly $20,000 in one week through her GratiFoodNYC Venmo account. In under four weeks, Rotner had raised more than $65,000.

"Donations came from family, friends, colleagues and strangers from all over New York and around the country, and as far as Madrid and Tel Aviv," she told Jessica Abo over Zoom. She donated 200 meals during her first week and 500 meals the following week. As of May 11th, she has donated more than 3,000 meals to more than 12 NYC hospitals in Manhattan, Queens and the Bronx.

Now, Rotner wants to help more people. She created a partnership with New York Common Pantry, so donations raised going forward can address food insecurity in New York. GratiFoodNYC has raised more than $160,000 to date and Rotner hopes she can raise one million.

"1.2 million New Yorkers have lost their jobs since this started. One third of all NYC food pantries closed due to COVID-19. New York Common Pantry is seeing a 40 percent intake increase and it's not the only one. People are really suffering through this and I feel obligated to help where I can," she says. "New York Common Pantry is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit and serves 6.5 million meals per year, during a typical year."

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