Feeding New Yorkers In Need During Shutdown

Marc Holliday ’88, left, pulled from his resources to help feed New Yorkers in need through Food1st.

Mark Holliday at left

Marc Holliday ’88, left, pulled from his resources to help feed New Yorkers in need through Food1st.

More than 200,000 meals have been prepared by 12 restaurants throughout New York City to feed first responders, medical personnel, elderly and food-insecure families, thanks to a newly formed nonprofit called Food1st. The organization was started by Marc Holliday ’88, chairman and CEO of SL Green, who pulled from his resources to help feed New Yorkers in need and reactivate NYC kitchens during the peak of the COVID-19 crisis.

With a $1 million seed donation made by SL Green, Manhattan’s largest owner of commercial real estate, Food1st was launched in collaboration with world renowned chef and restaurateur Daniel Boulud. Boulud, who is set to open an 11,000-square-foot restaurant in SL Green’s ground-up development, One Vanderbilt, hired back members of his kitchen staff to prepare individually packaged, healthy meals in his kitchens which had  been closed due to the pandemic. The first 1,200 meals of beef stew were delivered on April 23. Meatloaf arrived the next day.

Marc Holliday ’88

Marc Holliday ’88

“The vision for Food1st is to partner with restaurants across New York—beginning with the great Chef Daniel Boulud—to provide meals to those who need them, safely provide food workers with a paycheck, and restore vitality and energy to the city we love,” said Holliday.

SL Green worked quickly with other restaurants to join Food1st and enable them to re-hire kitchen staff and cook, package and deliver approximately 4,000 meals daily. While cooking, staff wear masks and gloves. Despite some supply chain issues because of the pandemic, ingredients are locally sourced as much as possible. Meals and utensils are individually packaged and compostable or recyclable containers are used whenever available.

Lehigh alumna Evin Epstein ’14 ’15G is a key player in the Food1st effort. The environmental studies and environmental policy design graduate works for SL Green as assistant vice president of sustainability. She is responsible for the logistics of preparing and distributing hundreds of thousands of meals to those in need.

Delivery locations are coordinated with more than six hospital recipients for medical personnel, Citymeals on Wheels for the elderly and Services for the Underserved. For medical personnel, the deliveries happen around shift changes to maximize grab-and-go pick-up of ready-to-eat meals. Mount Sinai Hospital, NYU Langone Health, New York Presbyterian Hospital and Columbia University Medical Center are among the recipients.

“Food1st was just an idea a few months ago, and it’s inspiring to see so many partners and donors step up to feed thousands of first responders and vulnerable New Yorkers every day,” said Holliday, who wants Food1st to continue in operation beyond the COVID pandemic. All funds donated go directly to supporting meal preparation, packaging and delivery.

Holliday, who joined SL Green in 1998 as chief investment officer, earned a bachelor of science in finance from Lehigh and a master of science in real estate development from Columbia University. He and his wife, Sheree, have been supporters of the real estate program in Lehigh’s College of Business and Lehigh’s lacrosse program. An expert and media source regarding the commercial real estate marketplace, Holliday has frequently spoken to Lehigh students. Most recently, he was the keynote speaker at the 2019 Stacom Family Executive Speaker Series and has hosted the Lehigh lacrosse team at SL Green to discuss New York City real estate.

Story by Dawn Thren ’21P


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