Kathy Goldman, who dedicated her career as a civic leader to establishing food banks, pantries and free breakfast and lunch programs in public schools to support low-income New Yorkers, died March 5 in Brooklyn. She was 92.

The cause of death at the hospital was heart failure, said her daughter, Julie Goldman.

In the fight against malnutrition, Ms. Goldman was determined to confront the collective indifference that she believed contributed to the Holocaust. Over five decades, she worked with many collaborators to successfully advocate for government subsidies such as food stamps and nutritional assistance for women, children and infants; creating partnerships between local communities and corporate providers; and expand the mandate of anti-hunger programs to include assistance with housing, health care, education and other needs.

In 1980, she founded the Community Food Resource Center, a nonprofit food advocacy group, as a defense against stricter welfare eligibility requirements. Three years later she helped organize what is today Food Bank for New York City, which has supplied numerous soup kitchens and food pantries across the city from its Hunts Point market in the Bronx. She served as the center’s executive director until her retirement in 2003.

In 1984, she launched the Community Kitchen of West Harlem, an innovative program that not only provided food but also helped the hungry with other needs, including housing and health care. After renovating the dining area, “a 10-year-old boy shouted, ‘It’s just like McDonald’s!'” Goldman considered it “the greatest compliment ever given to a child by a child,” Lana Dee Povitz wrote in ” Stirrings: How Activist New Yorkers Ignited a Movement for Food Justice” (2019).

In the early 1990s, Ms. Goldman convinced the city to open school cafeterias in Chinatown and Harlem in the evenings to serve dinner to older adults.

“She was the most important voice in the fight against hunger in New York for 50 years,” Fran Barrett, Gov. Kathy Hochul’s interagency nonprofit coordinator, said via email, “and the first to focus on food in schools , which literally resulted in thousands of children actually eating the food instead of throwing it away.”

In developing federal school breakfast and summer meal programs in New York, Ms. Goldman hired “people who had expertise and got out of their way,” said Ms. Barrett, who had been one of her staff members (along with Liz Krueger, who would do it). ). become a state senator, and Mary McCormick of the Fund for the City of New York).

In 2002, Ms. Goldman was invited to carry the Olympic torch a quarter-mile in New York, and in 2012, she was honored by President Barack Obama at the White House as an “Advocate for Change” for her contributions to fighting hunger in America.

After she retired from the food center, she and Agnes Molnar founded the food center Community Food Advocates in 2009 to advocate for universal school lunches and other government policies to meet the nutritional needs of Americans.

As Ms. Goldman often said, “Tomorrow morning, if the will were there, we wouldn’t have to be hungry anymore.” There is no shortage of food.”

In 2022, she moved to a senior living community in Sleepy Hollow, NY

Catherine Vera Friedman (she later changed her name to Kathryn, after actress Kathryn Grayson) was born on January 15, 1932 in the Bronx to Jewish immigrants from Eastern Europe. Her mother, Ila (Goldman) Friedman, was a writer who founded a Hungarian women’s magazine. Her father, Samuel, was a carpenter and treasurer of his union.

After graduating from the first group of girls admitted to the Bronx High School of Science, three blocks from her home, she became the first in her family to attend college. She studied film at New York University and then briefly attended City College and Hunter College. In 1986, she earned a master’s degree in urban studies from Queens College of the City University of New York.

In 1949, Ms. Goldman traveled to Budapest, where she worked as a translator at the World Youth Festival; in college she joined the Labor Youth League, founded by the Communist Party (though she later said she bristled at the flag-wavers’ complacency, dogmatism and denigration of women); and took courses in Marxism and black history at the Jefferson School of Social Science, once described in the Times as “the premier training center for communists and communist sympathizers in this city.”

She and her husband, Jack Goldman, were active in the Urban League’s campaign against racial discrimination in housing. She also joined a group of white, middle-class parents who supported school desegregation.

In 1966, Ms. Goldman and another activist, Ellen Lurie, compared the reading test scores of all schools in the city and published them as evidence that black students were receiving inferior education.

you and Evelina Antonetty organized to improve public schools in the South Bronx, develop an adult bilingual education initiative through United Bronx Parents, and establish a federally funded free summer meals program for children in 1971; She helped draft regulations when the program was expanded nationwide in 1979.

Ms. Goldman and her husband divorced in 1974. In addition to her daughter, she is survived by her sons Joseph and Robert Goldman; five grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren. Most of her relatives who remained in Europe after her parents emigrated – her father from Slovakia and her mother from Hungary – were killed in the Holocaust.

“I was really raised to believe that if more people had said something, the Holocaust wouldn’t have happened,” Ms. Goldman’s daughter quoted her as saying. “If there had been resistance, it would have been mitigated. I still believe that to this day. You can do something. You can make a difference, you can make a change.”

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