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Anti-Hunger Campaign Continues To Feed Coney Island Community Long After Sandy

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TWC News: Anti-Hunger Campaign Continues To Feed Coney Island Community Long After Sandy
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Almost nine months after Hurricane Sandy, the Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger continues to bring a weekly mobile pantry to Coney Island in an effort to fight hunger and serve the dietary needs of the local community. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez filed the following report.

Ever since Hurricane Sandy, the Bed-Stuy Campaign Against Hunger brings a weekly mobile pantry to Coney Island.

For Coney Island resident Shanae Hunter, a baby stroller doubles as a food cart as she visits the pantry to stock up on supplies for her family.

"It's certain things I don't have to get, like cereal," says Hunter. "Certain things at the end of the month are really helpful."

Now that it's summer, the Bed-Stuy Campaign says the food lines are getting longer.

"Families have their children at home, some are not in summer camps, and some are not going to some of the summer meals that are available," says the Bed-Stuy Campaign's Dr. Melony Samuels. "Families want to cook for the families. They want that bonding still and we don't want to take that away from them."

NY1 first caught up with the non-profit group back in January when they gave out boxes of food.

Organizers say back then they were in emergency response mode following Superstorm Sandy.

Now, nearly nine months later, they say they are in long term recovery and have changed their methods to meet the dietary needs of Coney Island's diverse community.

"We're bringing table choice, giving families an opportunity to say, 'This is what meets my need. I would like this. I would rather not have this, because I cannot eat this, or I cannot make that,'" says Samuels.

The campaign works citywide and says last year it gave out 1.8 million meals.

This year, the campaign is on track to serve 2.2 million meals.

In Coney Island alone, the campaign serves about 500 families every Friday, where after a morning distribution on Neptune Avenue, the group moves to a second afternoon location on Mermaid Avenue.

"The demand has been so great that since the beginning of Sandy we have not left," says Samuels.

Coney Island residents say they are grateful for the help.

"I work, but even a little something helps me," says one resident.

"They help a lot of people," says another resident. "They need it after Hurricane Sandy."

The campaign says it is committed to serving the community as long as needed.

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