Bay Ridge

Northfield Bank Foundation donates $15,000 to help hungry Bay Ridge residents

August 19, 2015 By Rob Abruzzese Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Members of the Northfield Bank Foundation pose with employees and volunteers at the Bay Ridge Center after the foundation donated $15,000 toward the center’s Brown Bag Lunches program. From left: Rev. Paul Knudsen, Todd Fliedner, Diane Senerchia, Brian Chin, Patty Marchetti, Mary Clavin, Kim Laraichi, Marianne Nicolosi and Kathy Sadowski. Eagle photo by Rob Abruzzese
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The Bay Ridge Center (BRC) is a shining example of an organization doing its part to help the community. Now, thanks to a generous $15,000 donation from the Northfield Bank Foundation, the center is going to be able to do even more to help those in need.

Among the center’s many programs that provide food for the community is the Brown Bag Lunch program, which serves 100-125 people a day with a bagged lunch that includes two sandwiches, milk and fruit.

“A lot of times people will come here, have a hot meal — we have hot lunches every day — and they’ll get the Brown Bag to bring home, and that’s their supper,” said Todd W. Fliedner, head of Outreach and Development at the BRC. “This donation from Northfield Bank will allow us to expand that program.”

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The Brown Bag Lunch program was established more than 10 years ago, but over the past two years it has been operating at a deficit. This donation will keep the BRC from cancelling Brown Bag Lunches and it will also allow it to expand with a new program called Suppers of Substance.

“It’s going to allow us to continue the program and make it nicer,” said BRC Executive Director Marianne Nicolosi. “The idea is that instead of giving them something simple, once a week we’re going to be able to provide people with a more substantial meal.”

This is just a small part of the way the Northfield Bank Foundation has been able to help the community. It’s a 7-year-old foundation that has donated nearly $5 million to organizations in Brooklyn, Staten Island and parts of central New Jersey.

“Northfield Bank has been around since 1887,” said Brian Chin, a Northfield Bank branch manager at the 3rd Avenue division. “Small banks don’t last that long without playing an active role in the community, so our philosophy has always been to give back and help out as much as we can.”

In fact, when the Bay Ridge Center initially approached the Northfield Bank Foundation, it requested a donation of $13,000 — but after the foundation’s Executive Director Diane Senerchia toured the facility, she decided not only to approve the request, but also found a way to donate more.

“This is right up our alley,” Senerchia said. “We try to help the seniors, and this impacts so many people. When I came for a site visit I saw how many participants they have, saw the food pantry…and thought this was a great organization to help.”

Another of the BRC’s ongoing senior food insecurity initiatives is a Senior Nutrition Program that serves hot meals every weekday in-house. In addition, the BRC sends out more than 500 hot meals a week as part of its Meals On Wheels program. Once a month, the BRC’s Food Pantry also hands out bags that contain enough food for approximately five meals.

“Our feeding programs have been utilized more than ever and have been expanded more than 100 percent since just a couple of years ago in terms of the lunches that we are providing,” said Rev. Paul H. Knudsen of the Bethlehem Lutheran Church, which works with the BRC. “We’re really grateful toward the Northfield Bank Foundation for helping us to continue these programs.”

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