Gounardes joins World Central Kitchen, International Rescue Committee to distribute over 2,000 meals a week in Bay Ridge during COVID-19 pandemic
Providing meals to needy locals during a difficult time.
The International Rescue Committee in New York (IRC in NY) is a non-profit that resettles refugees and works with the broader immigrant communities in New York City.
The organization reaches IRC clients across New York and New Jersey and one of those partnerships recently took place in Bay Ridge.
The two groups joined State Senator Andrew Gounardes to distribute 1,200 meals two times a week at his office at 8018 5th Ave.
According to Gounardes, there is an incredible need for providing meals. On Monday, April 20, they finished distributing these meals in just 30 minutes.
"I have been extremely fortunate to partner with World Central Kitchen and IRC to distribute 2,400 meals per week in Bay Ridge,” said Gounardes. “Yet it is also heartbreaking to see the staggering food insecurity in our community. On Monday, we ran out of meals in just about half an hour. This is a problem that must be addressed on every level – through mutual aid, constituent services, legislation, budget advocacy, partnerships with nonprofits and more. Yet it is clear that the work WC Kitchen and IRC are doing in our neighborhood has made a tremendous difference throughout this crisis."
According to Milagros Cruz of IRC, the organization resettles refugees and works with the broader immigrant communities in New York City.
“We provide a broad range of services including case management to address basic needs of newly arrived refugees, employment and career development programs, adult and youth educational programs, and immigration legal services,” she said. “In response to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, IRC in NY has expanded its services to address the growing food insecurity concerns of our clients and communities across New York City.”
She also discussed how they got involved with lending a helping hand to Bay Ridge residents in need.
“IRC in NY collaborated with World Central Kitchen and the Senator’s office to identify a food access point in the Bay Ridge community to serve not just IRC clients but also the community at large,” Cruz said. “While there are other feeding programs and city meal services in New York City, many are struggling to meet the growing demand as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. With this food distribution site, we hope to help address that need in the Bay Ridge community.”
She added that, “We have had people from the community come to the site and ask how they can help and support the work being done. We are in extremely challenging times, but seeing how communities across New York City, including Bay Ridge, have come together to support one another is inspiring and heartening.”
She has also been happy to work with Gounardes on this noble initiative.
“We have been very grateful for the ongoing partnership and collaboration from Senator Gounardes and his team,” Cruz said. “Senator Gounardes is a staunch supporter of refugees and immigrants, and we are thankful he is working closely with IRC in NY to address the needs of the community.”
Throughout the course of this pandemic, World Central Kitchen has provided millions of meals to those in need. They are currently serving 160,000 high-quality, nutritious meals every day
“World Central Kitchen has been an incredible partner and we are proud to work alongside them during these times,” Cruz said. “The International Rescue Committee in New York is partnering with Senator Andrew Gounardes’ office and World Central Kitchen to provide prepared meals to those in need in the Bay Ridge community.”
She concluded that, “Operating out of Senator Gounardes’ Bay Ridge district office, meals are being distributed twice a week on Mondays and Thursdays and in the coming weeks an additional day will be added to distribute bags of shelf stable grocery items to further address the growing demand in the community.”
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