Agents of Change: Cathy Taub 'grateful to be of service' to food-insecure people
Taub, a NYC agent with Sotheby's International Realty, helps feed families in her community as a volunteer and board member at the New York Common Pantry.
Editor's note: Across the country, agents are giving back to their communities and their industry. Here, we shine a light on people creating positive change and inspiring others to look for ways they can make a difference as well.
Working in the rarified air of luxury Manhattan residential real estate, with listings in the many millions of dollars, Cathy Taub regularly serves some of the city’s wealthiest residents.
But when she’s not working as a senior global real estate advisor and associate broker at Sotheby’s International Realty, she serves some of the city’s neediest.
Taub joined the board of directors of the New York Common Pantry in February 2022. “I had volunteered at the Pantry, and it’s literally a hands-on job, packing fresh fruits, vegetables and staples,” she says. “You immediately see the results of your work, which is delivering nutritious food to food-insecure people in our community who rely on the Pantry to address their family’s food needs.”
The contrast of the two worlds Taub serves is not lost on her. “As a professional working with so many high-net-worth people, the disparity of income and the disparity of lifestyle and quality of life in our city is astonishing,” she says. “The New York Common Pantry spoke to me because I wanted to give back to my community in a way that really addressed the most basic need.”
The New York Common Pantry also serves hot meals and provides healthy, nutritionally balanced meals for the guests, including fresh fruits and vegetables to prepare at home. The Pantry operates from two locations in NYC and has mobile pantry units that reach even more neighborhoods, Taub says. In 2022 alone, the New York Common Pantry has served 9.3 million meals so far.
But it’s not just food. Taub says the Pantry provides nutritional education to help make the most of the meals and ingredients provided, and addresses the dire needs of the city’s homeless. “The Pantry helps the unhoused with access to public housing, psychiatric services and hygiene services including showers, haircuts and laundry services.”
At the height of the pandemic, New Yorkers seemed to understand the increased need in the food-insecure population, Taub said. But while the most urgent crisis moments of the pandemic appear to be past, the needs of the people served by the Pantry remain. “If anything, we have an increased need for contributions,” she says.
“I'm blessed with a healthy family. I don't have any issues with food insecurity or homelessness. I have an income that I'm not concerned about supporting my family,” she says. “And yet I know on the other end of that spectrum, there are people that rely on the generosity of New Yorkers to put food on their family's table.”
“And these people that we serve, our guests, are so dignified and grateful. They are people with humility and pride. I’m so grateful to be able to be of service,” Taub says.
Taub says she hopes to inspire other agents to reach out and volunteer. She’s volunteered at the Pantry alongside colleagues and continues that on-the-ground work even as she serves on the organization’s board.
“There are so many worthy causes in New York City. And anything someone can do outside of their professional life or family life is worthwhile and gratifying,” she says. “I want to do more than just be a mother to my children, friend to my friends and a real estate broker to my clients. I want to make a contribution to my community and the city that I love.”