BEDFORD-STUYVESANT, BROOKLYN — A Bed-Stuy food pantry that once struggled to keep pace with demand as the new coronavirus hit received back-to-back pilgrimages from two of New York City’s most prominent elected officials.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams both visited The Campaign Against Hunger on Tuesday. Their visits highlighted donations that will help the pantry meet an ever-growing need.
“We have quadrupled our numbers,” said the pantry’s founder Melony Samuels.
Demand at the Fulton Street-based pantry spiked as the new coronavirus outbreak first struck the city in mid-March. Samuels then told Patch the pantry was running out of food.
Two weeks and a rush of donations later, Samuels said the strain had eased but a daily struggle persisted to keep shelves stocked and bagged meals going out to families.
The pantry as of this week now serves about 2,000 meals a day to hundreds of families.
Samuels said concerns about running out of food ended as City Harvest and New York City itself made donations.
On Tuesday morning, Adams visited the pantry along with representatives from Kate Farms to highlight the donations of 20,000 plant-based meal replacement shakes to the pantry.
“We are grateful to the food pantry leaders and volunteers for all they do to feed our community,” Adams said in a statement. “We are thankful for companies like Kate Farms, who are jumping in to provide their support to Brooklyn right now.”
De Blasio talked Tuesday morning about the need for food security during the pandemic. He noted the city had donated $25 million to pantries.
“We will not let any New Yorker go hungry,” he said.
Later on Tuesday, de Blasio visited The Campaign Against Hunger and saw an operation swelling with boxes and bags of food. Samuels said it’s only a “drop in the bucket” of what is needed every day.
Lines about 500-people deep snake around the food pantry every day, Samuel said. Even on Monday, when storms blew through the city, there were 300 families shivering in the rain, she said.
“Because of the unemployment we’re finding out that a lot of people who are on line are first time users,” she said.
People who need help can visit the campaign’s website or call 718-773-3551. Pantry volunteers can also deliver food bags for people at risk of coronavirus