A truckload of desperately needed food arrived at a loading dock in the Mott Haven neighborhood of the Bronx Saturday morning.
“There's been a donation of 42,000 pounds of potato here into the Bronx that were going to go to waste at a farm,” said Daniel Diaz, the executive director of Eastside House Settlement, a multi-service organization that primarily focuses education and workforce development.
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A team of volunteers put their efforts toward packing the potatoes and other foods to donate them to families in need. Organizers say food insecurity is growing in the South Bronx. The problem has existed for years, but the area has been hit especially hard by the coronavirus pandemic.
"It's very important that they have the food so they can focus on other things, or your family or anything else when you are worried where your next meal is going to come from,” said Diaz.
This food donation is a a group effort of several private donations and sponsors who pitched in the money to buy the supplies and food. That includes Zaro's Bakery, which donated the space to help the local food bank. It started after one of the organizers saw a news report that farmers were having to discard their surplus of potatoes.
"We just asked, ‘What if we get those potatoes for the food program?’ We mobilized people to raise money to get the potatoes here,” said Bill Mehleisen, who also helped raise funds.
The GoFundMe for the group, called Farms to Food Banks, is now raising money to buy a truckload of rice, which would then be donated in the South Bronx.
“Everybody that we called for help immediately said yes. It really felt like humans coming together to help humans,” said Mehleisen.
They'll be coming together again next Wednesday to deliver the food boxes at three community centers.