Dozens of union carpenters took the morning off last Thursday to hand out almost 10,000 meals to Brooklyn families in need.

The pop-up food pantry was held in partnership between the New York City District Council of Carpenters and the Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens at Blessed Sacrament Roman Catholic Church in Cypress Hills.

New York City District Council of Carpenters hands out food in Brownsville. Photo: Supplied.

The organization donated 9,600 meals to 800 families and 200 homebound seniors still experiencing food insecurity, with each family and senior receiving 12 meals. The meals included pre-packed bags of fresh produce, dairy, meat and non-perishable food items.

People who went along to the pantry could get free COVID-19 testing, PPE, information and resources on SNAP screening, Project Hope and Empire BlueCross BlueShield.

New York City District Council of Carpenters hands out food in Brownsville. Photo: Supplied.

Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens Senior Director of Community Events Debbie Hampson said the volunteers, who got a COVID-safe sit down lunch, provided valuable help, manpower and assistance during a time of great need.

“Volunteers help lift the heavy boxes of produce, drive the forklifts, pack the thousands of bags–tasks our staff could not do alone,” she said.

“Volunteers are the heart of our team; we cannot meet the task of feeding thousands throughout Brooklyn and Queens without their support.”

New York City District Council of Carpenters hands out food in Brownsville. Photo: Supplied.

Over 500 New Yorkers have volunteered at Catholic Charities food pop-ups since the pandemic began, including many members from local companies and organizations, such as the New York City and Vicinity District Council of Carpenters, BRS Moving and Storage, The Knights of Columbus and EJ Electric. 

New York City and Vicinity District Council of Carpenters Executive Secretary-Treasurer Joseph Geiger said the organization was proud of members who volunteered in the communities in which they lived and worked.

“The pandemic has been challenging for so many families across New York. That’s why giving back to our local communities is a top priority for union carpenters.”

Since the beginning of 2021, Catholic Charities has distributed 19,200 meals and more than $3.4 million in food assistance to individuals and families. Each month, the organization serves approximately 65,000 families, seniors and individuals through the food pantry network.

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Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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