The Yankees announced their economic support of local businesses in the 161st Street corridor around Yankee Stadium by funding the purchase of local goods and services, with all items being selected by and provided to local community groups that serve Bronx residents in need.
As part of the Yankees’ Business to Community Initiative, the Yankees are committing $50,000 in winter spending with local businesses around the Stadium in the form of 10 separate $5,000 awards. The level of support and the businesses selected were determined by the Bronx’s 16th Council District, led by Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson. Given that the greatest immediate need among residents in the nearby community is food, the majority of the commitment will be directed toward local restaurants and food providers. With the guidance of the Bronx Council District 16 Office, each business will be paired with a Community-Based Organization (CBO). To best meet the needs of those they serve, each CBO will determine how money is spent at their assigned business entity.
The Yankees are also working on this initiative in conjunction with the New York City Department of Small Business Services (SBS), which is helping businesses in need of assistance as a result of COVID-19 by facilitating access to new sales opportunities, offering technical assistance to unlock affordable business financing, and providing free business consulting.
The Yankees’ Business to Community initiative continues the team’s multi-faceted efforts to provide aid to local residents as they cope with the COVID-affected economy during the holiday season, including $200,000 worth of food vouchers to help families in preparing their holiday meals, 68,000 lbs. of food donated directly to those in need and holiday gifts for thousands of children.
“The Yankees recognize the dire economic consequences wrought by COVID-19 in the vibrant neighborhood surrounding Yankee Stadium, and we are excited to move forward on this initiative, which provides tangible help to local businesses, Bronx residents and the organizations which serve them,” said Yankees Senior Vice President of Corporate/Community Relations Brian Smith. “We remain steadfast in our commitment to the community even though COVID considerations have forced us to find creative alternatives to our traditional in-person methods of support. We offer our thanks to local community groups who have helped us distribute more than $200,000 worth of food vouchers and 68,000 lbs. of food to help families prepare their holiday meals this year along with thousands of holiday gifts for children as parts of other Yankees programs. Our appreciation also extends to the diligent work of Vanessa L. Gibson, the Bronx Council District 16 Office and the New York City Department of Small Business Services for their help in identifying businesses and local community groups which can most benefit from our Business to Community Initiative.”
In November as part of the Yankees’ Thanksgiving Food Voucher Initiative, the Yankees and Krasdale Foods provided approximately 4,000 $25 food vouchers — which were distributed through more than 30 local community organizations with the help of the Food Bank for New York City — to assist local families in preparing for their Thanksgiving meals. Another 4,100 $25 food vouchers were similarly provided to local community groups as part of the Yankees’ Annual Holiday Voucher Initiative in December, including 500 vouchers which were allocated to The Players’ Alliance “Pull Up Neighbor” event on December 1 at Mullaly Park. The Yankees also continued their longstanding Annual Holiday Food Drive, as the team reached out to corporate partners, including Krasdale Foods, to fill two tractor trailers with 68,000 lbs. of food, which was presented to local CBOs.
The Yankees also held their 11th annual Winter Wonderland toy event on December 11. In prior years, the event was held at Yankee Stadium, which typically hosts a festive holiday extravaganza complete with decorations, music, food, drink and caroling, with every child in attendance having the opportunity to choose a holiday gift. However as a result of the need to limit large gatherings in 2020, this year’s toys were given directly to local community partners, which distributed them to thousands of children throughout December. The Yankees offer their special thanks to Walmart, a global retailer recognized for its community excellence, which partnered with the Yankees on Winter Wonderland for the third consecutive year. The Yankees also thank Clancy Moving for their efforts in facilitating the logistics of the Winter Wonderland toy distribution.
"Many of our small business owners along the 161st Street corridor are immigrant entrepreneurs and people of color that have been devastated by the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Council Member Vanessa L. Gibson of Council District 16 in the Bronx. “With little aid from the federal government and a decrease in revenue, many of these businesses are on the brink of being financially destitute. They could be forced to close next year permanently. The $50,000 in economic support from the New York Yankees will provide relief to these Mom and Pop stores while also giving back to our community. I want to thank the New York Yankees for their support of our local restaurants and food providers and the New York City Department of Small Business Services for their partnership on this endeavor. Today is a concerted effort to help our local businesses, but we must continue to advocate for additional resources for these businesses to stay afloat during this public health crisis."
"Our small businesses have been fighting to keep their doors open and serve their local communities — and SBS will continue to be a reliable partner for them," said Jonnel Doris, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “New York City is at its best when we all work together. We look forward to continuing our work with the Yankees to help impacted businesses in the Bronx, and reshaping our economy together."
"We are extremely appreciative of this support from the Yankees,” said Joe Bastone, owner of the Yankee Tavern on East 161st Street. “The COVID epidemic has been devastating to our business, especially with the closure of indoor dining. The Yankee Tavern has been a part of the fabric of this neighborhood for 93 years, and it means a lot that the Yankees are doing something to help us carry on our tradition.”
“Lack of food and other resources is a constant battle in the underserved areas where we focus our efforts, and the Yankees have come through for us during the pandemic,” said Lewis Zuchman, Executive Director of SCAN Harbor, which serves high-risk youth and their families in Harlem, East Harlem and the South Bronx via 23 program sites. “Being able to partner with a local business to provide food to our clients is critical in helping the individuals we serve make it through the overwhelming experience of COVID-19. The Yankees have always been terrific to us, including toys for kids during this holiday season, and we thank them for their longstanding assistance as we look forward to a better 2021.”