Street cart vendors are part of New York City’s cultural fabric. Whether you are purchasing a coffee, an affordable and satisfying lunch, or a quick snack, New York’s 20,000 street vendors always seems to have the food and merchandise we desire. They have always been here for us, but now they need our help. Group 5 Read More

Nearly one in four vendors report having household members with COVID-19 or COVID-19 symptoms. In the absence of regular commuters, office workers, tourists their personal earnings are down 70-90%1. Street cart vendors in New York City are struggling to keep their small businesses afloat while feeding themselves and their families – and worse – most do not qualify for any existing relief programs.

That’s why Morgan Stanley, Robin Hood, and the Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center are joining forces to help vendors and their families pay for rent, utilities, food, and other critical necessities. As COVID-19 numbers begin to spike again and winter settles in, providing immediate assistance to a group of hard working independent small business owners that have come to define the street culture of our city is more imperative than ever. Group 5 Read More

Morgan Stanley is seeding this effort with $2 million. Robin Hood is also contributing $375,000, including all operational costs, so every dollar raised goes directly to the vendors and their families in need. The Street Vendor Project is managing the distribution of funds.

You, too, can make a difference, individually or as a corporation, by supporting a New York City street cart vendor in need today.


Street vendors and food trucks are staples of New York life. From the Halal food carts in Astoria to the curbside fruterias in Sunset Park, they fold our city’s unrivaled diversity into our daily lives. Since the pandemic started seven months ago, street vendors, many of whom are undocumented immigrants, have seen up to a 90% loss of income in their daily lives. These small, family-owned businesses were all but abandoned by relief efforts during COVID-19. These are mothers, fathers, grandparents, whole families in our communities who have been struggling to survive and keep their businesses afloat.

Street vendors have kept NYC citizens caffeinated and fed during the work week. Now they need our help. In June, average earnings for these vendors was just 20% of what they made in February, with 79% of respondents still earning nothing.

Nearly 80% of NYC street vendors were out of work as of June, and many still haven’t returned. Our employees and our city need these essential workers.


1According to a survey conducted in June and September 2020 by Women in Informal Employment: Globalizing + Organizing (WIEGO) in collaboration with the Street Vendor Project.

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