Brooklyn food pantries see boost in city funding
Council allocates $4 million to organizations citywide
Reaching Out Community Services Inc., a nonprofit social services organization that operates out of a storefront on New Utrecht Avenue in Bensonhurst, will be able to assist more hungry families now that the City Council has announced a $30,000 allocation to the group.
Reaching Out, which sponsors a food pantry on its premises at 7708 New Utrecht Ave., is one of five nonprofit organizations in Southwest Brooklyn that have been awarded city funding.
Thomas Neve, executive director of Reaching Out Community Services Inc., said he is grateful to the council for taking action. “The food pantry initiative is a lifeline to our organization because we are being challenged on a funding level to a point where it is becoming damaging to our existence,” he said.
Councilmember Mark Treyger (D-Coney Island-Gravesend-Bensonhurst) announced on Dec. 1 that the council’s Brooklyn delegation, which Treyger co-chairs with Councilmember Darlene Mealy, successfully pushed for an increase in funding to New York City food pantries.
The council has allocated $4 million to food pantries thus year, more than doubling the total allocated last year.
“I am very appreciative of the efforts from Councilmember Treyger and the rest of the City Council because the hunger issue is increasing on a dramatic level. I’m glad they are concentrating on this vital necessity,” Neve said.
The increase allows each member of the council to allocate more funds to food pantries in their districts, Treyger said.
“This is a strong response to a direct need. Our city’s food pantries provide invaluable assistance to New York’s most vulnerable populations, particularly during the holiday season. Yet recent reports have delineated the struggles our city’s food pantries are facing. The additional funding helps these organizations expand their services and provide assistance to as many New Yorkers in need as possible,” Treyger said.
In addition to Reaching Out Community Services Inc., other Southwest Brooklyn organizations receiving funding are: ACTS Community Development Corp., 2114 Mermaid Ave. ($20,000); SBH Community Service Network, 425 Stillwell Ave. ($12,000); Salt and Sea Mission Church, 2417 Stillwell Ave., (($6,242) and Our Lady of Grace Parish, 2311 East Fourth St. ($6,242).
The food pantry operators said are aware of the important role they are playing.
“This food often means the difference between a family eating not only a balanced and nutritional diet, but eating a meal at all,” SBH president Lee M. Cohen said. “Due to the generous assistance from the council, SBH will be able to continue distributing free food from its food pantry to so many families in need.”
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