A new food pantry has opened on Brownsville’s Howard Avenue to tackle food insecurity in the neighborhood.

The pantry will run out of P.S. 12 and M.S. 484 — both Title 1 schools — thanks to a partnership between the Brooklyn Nets, New York Liberty and Hospital for Special Surgery.

It will distribute food several times per month based on a schedule designated by school administration, and those in need will have the opportunity to select meals, groceries and household items free of charge, BSE Global, the parent company of the basketball teams, said in a press release.

The food pantry ribbon cutting event at PS 12. Photo: Allison Joseph/Supplied.

BSE Global CEO John Abbamondi said the company was committed to serving its community by addressing issues impacting Brooklynites, including the crisis of food insecurity.

 “No one should ever go to school or work hungry, and we are proud to work alongside the Liberty and HSS to do our part in providing hunger relief in Ocean Hill Brownsville – an area where food insecurity disproportionately impacts our neighbors.”

According to NYC Food Policy, 32% of residents in the Brownsville/Ocean Hill area face food insecurity and BSE Global said P.S. 12 and M.S. 484 served a high number of children from low-income households.

On top of opening the food pantry, the Nets, Liberty and HSS will also work with the Food Bank to host monthly fit clinics where students will learn about nutrition, sports performance and sports safety, Abbamondi said.

New York Liberty CEO Keia Clarke said that as members of the Brooklyn community, the team felt a responsibility to help ensure that all residents had access to basic needs, including food.

“We know that food insecurity disproportionality affects BIPOC and low-income families for a myriad of reasons. In partnership with the Nets and HSS, the Liberty hope to play a small part in alleviating a big issue.”

The food pantry ribbon cutting event at PS 12. Photo: Allison Joseph/Supplied.

The Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty Food Pantry presented by HSS officially opened on Tuesday, March 1 following a ribbon cutting ceremony. Ahead of the food pantry’s opening, the Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty Foundation and HSS launched a donation campaign with Food Bank for New York City that will run for the remainder of the current school year in June. Every dollar donated to Food Bank for New York City will be matched up to $20,000.

Louis A. Shapiro, president and CEO at HSS, said: “We recognize food insecurity is significantly impacting Ocean Hill Brownsville residents, now more than ever due to the lingering pandemic,” said “Teaming up with the Brooklyn Nets and New York Liberty to unveil the food pantry is an incredible opportunity for us to support our neighbors in Brooklyn, and ultimately help close the Meal Gap in our community.”

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