By: Amanda Moses
Eight o’clock in the morning last Saturday, dozens of people with shopping carts and bags in hand formed a line outside 1460 Pennsylvania Avenue and waited for the start of a food distribution to begin. The event was scheduled to run from 9 a.m. to noon, but after an hour and half the grocery stockpile was depleted.
“I couldn’t believe how many people were waiting outside so early,” said Susie Williams, President of Sisters with Purpose, Inc., the non-profit community support/ministry group that partnered with the Food Bank for New York City and the Italian Civil Rights League’s (IACRL) “Healthy Families” program to conduct the one-day pantry. It was open to anyone who lives in the 11239 zip code; proof of address was required.
The food was distributed from the IACRL office. One by one, participants entered and were assisted by volunteers who helped them to select what they wanted from a variety of foods that included soups, canned vegetables, jars of peanut butter and jelly, loaves of bread, and boxes of macaroni and cheese.
“The pantry allows us to offer a helping hand to people facing financial hardship,” says Williams who is the founder of Sisters with Purpose and a resident of Spring Creek Towers.
The food, in part, was purchased by Sisters with Purpose, Inc. and contributed by the Food Bank for New York City. Beverly Rogers, a volunteer, made a personal contribution of fresh peaches bought from a farmer’s market in Brooklyn. Her donation, she said, was given in recognition that it may be hard for some to have three meals a day. “There are a lot of people who are going hungry because jobs are scarce and they can’t afford to live in this economy. I want to do the best I can to help the people of my community,” she said.
“Honestly, this food is going to really help me. I feel so blessed to have this food. About a third of my [pay] check goes to bills,” explained Kenneth Foster as he thanked volunteers.
“This bag of food will go a long way. [It is] amazing and wonderful that this has happened,” said Florence Matthews, 62, who lives on a fixed income.
Sisters with Purpose held its first food pantry in April at the Boulevard Senior Center on Stanley Avenue; and provided food for 30 seniors and their families.
Williams said the whole food pantry experience is very rewarding, “Helping our community means a lot to my organization.” The next Sisters with Purpose food pantry event for Spring Creek Towers residents is being planned for this fall. Photo: Amanda Moses
EDITED BY AGNES E. GREEN