City Council Doubles Funding For Southern Brooklyn Food Pantries


The organization City Year with a van full of food for needy neighbors. Photo via RCS-Reaching Out Community Services’ Facebook

In a time of general lack of funds and food at food pantries citywide, an allocation of $4 million by the City Council for pantries in 2017 can be anticipated to make a huge difference for those who need it most.

The allocation, announced on the first of December, allows each Council member to give funds to their district’s pantries — including five in southern Brooklyn.

City Council Member Mark Treyger put our new funds towards the follow pantries:

  • Reaching Out Community Services at 7708 New Utrecht Avenue allocated $30,000
  • ACTS Community Development Corporation at 2114 Mermaid Avenue allocated $20,000
  • SBH Community Service Network at 425 Kings Highway allocated $12,000
  • Salt and Sea Mission Church at 2417 Stillwell Avenue allocated $6,242
  • Our Lady of Grace Parish at 2322 East 4th Street allocated $6,242

The money couldn’t have come at a more urgent time: according to a recent report from Food Bank NYC, almost half (49 percent) of NYC food pantries said they had almost entirely run out of food in September.

The quantity of food-pantry-allocated cash is more than double 2016’s $1.9 million budget, and will go towards not just food, but also more and better services from pantries.

“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,” said Thomas Neve of Reaching Out Community Services, a Bensonhurst based pantry that experienced record low donations this year.

Still, the money comes at a time of increasing hostility from the community towards the needy — with many pols and locals opposing proposals for a homeless shelter in Coney Island — and demands for better and improved infrastructure. Then again, people generally seem more welcoming to food pantries than shelters, perhaps due to the relative amount of homeless traffic they bring to the neighborhood.

What do you think, are you celebrating this funding allocation as a much needed boost for pantries or not?