How One Child’s Artwork Brought Hope to a Devastated Brooklyn Business
By Aziza Mirtalipova, employee at Breadberry
When the ceiling came down in the Breadberry supermarket in Brooklyn’s Jewish neighborhood, it was just one more devastating blow to a community already ravaged by COVID-19. But amid this tragedy – just as this community has done countless times before – something beautiful emerged, giving them hope and comfort.
In March, when the pandemic exploded in New York City, life in this bustling district came to a screeching halt. For the Jewish community in and around Boro Park, COVID-19 hit just before Passover, a sacred holiday in the Jewish calendar. During the height of Passover preparations, Coronavirus essentially shut down the City, causing many businesses – including kosher stores – to close their doors.
With families being separated during Passover, and news of rabbis, friends, and family succumbing to the disease every day, morale continued to plummet.
Even through those darkest days, the Breadberry kosher supermarket at 1689 60th Street didn’t shut down. They went to work, feeding not only those in Boro Park, but thousands of people throughout Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Staten Island. Every day, new customers flooded the store with requests, many of whom were new customers with nowhere else to turn. The Breadberry owner and employees worked tirelessly, spending long days fulfilling the needs of the local community.
Finally, after many weeks of fear, sadness, and exhaustingly long days, lockdowns lifted, and life in Brooklyn began to return to some semblance of normal.
Then it happened.
On July 17, the owner received a phone call.
“It’s collapsing,” the voice on the other end cried. Part of the ceiling suffered a significant collapse. And while no one was injured, the supermarket sustained considerable damage. Rubble lined the aisles and dust covered the shelves. A blue stretched across the once vibrant storefront.
The next morning, news of the collapse began to spread. The future of this iconic supermarket – one that had survived the hardest days of the pandemic – seemed uncertain. For this tight-knit community, it was yet one more devastating blow in a series of many.
The owners, knowing what their store meant to those in Boro Park and throughout New York City, wanted to rebuild as quickly as possible. However, planning commissions, permit offices, and contractors were all facing significant slowdowns.
One night, tired, defeated, and unsure one of the employees went home and talked with her husband about the store’s plight. “We need permits and blueprints to rebuild,” she said. “And who knows how long that will take?”
All the while, in the next room, her young daughter listened, grabbed her markers, and opened her imagination.
A little while later, the little girl approached her mother. In her hands, the little girl held “blueprints” for the renovated store: a drawing that included a rebuilt market complete with slides, parking for kick scooters, and orange balloons at the checkout counter for kids to take home.
“I took out my phone, snapped photos of the drawings, and sent them to my team at Breadberry, saying ‘Ha, I already got the remodeling blueprints!’” says the mother of the young artist. “Four hours later, my phone blew up with ten more drawings! By next morning, this became a whole big deal as everyone’s children were sending in their drawings.”
The drawings became a source of hope and happiness for the Breadberry owners, employees, and customers. Soon, dozens of pictures from children throughout the area covered the storefront. Now, the entire community has become involved, creating an impromptu art exhibit featuring childhood imagination and positivity at its finest—a mural of hope that brings happiness to everyone who walks past the market.
As they begin the rebuilding process, the Breadberry market hopes to continue collecting “blueprints” from children far and wide. Once construction is complete, the drawings will become part of a permanent display, highlighting the perseverance, imagination, vision, and love of the human spirit.
If your child wants to be a part of the “Reborn Breadberry” art wall, we welcome their most imaginative and colorful pieces! Please send them to us at
Address: Breadberry Art Wall, 1689 60th street Brooklyn NY 11218
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