Masbia Food Pantry & Soup Kitchen is Giving 14 Day Supplies to Help, Needs Volunteers

Masbia of Flatbush in 2018. (Photo: Zainab Iqbal/Bklyner)

FLATBUSH – Many people and organizations have been stepping up to help others during the coronavirus pandemic. Take Masbia, a food pantry, and soup kitchen network, for example.

Masbia recently announced that it was increasing the amount of grocery food clients could take home in one visit to an amount that will last 14 days. Normally, the amount lasts one week. This is in an effort to have people stay at home and only come by once every two weeks. Masbia also added that the meals that were normally served as hot sit-down meals, would now be to-go meals.

“With the increased food anxiety among people, and in the spirit of social distancing, it only made sense to give people more and ask them to show up less. Therefore we are drastically increasing the raw food allowance for clients to take home,” Alexander Rapaport, the executive director of Masbia said.

Masbia will also be opening one hour early to accommodate the increase in demand. Below are the new hours for their service from Sunday to Thursday:

  • Masbia of Flatbush Food Pantry & Soup Kitchen: 3 p.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Masbia of Boro Park Food Pantry: 3 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Masbia of Boro Park Soup Kitchen: 5:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.

According to Rapaport, they did not have volunteers for the past few days. That changed after Council Member Brad Lander got involved, he said.

“We now have volunteers. We have ten fresh pallets of fresh produce. Volunteers are using face masks and gloves to break them down,” he told Bklyner. “We have potatoes, sweet potatoes, grapes, melons. We will be getting pallets of pasta later today.”

Lander had gone to Facebook to advocate on their behalf.

“Food pantries and soup kitchens around the city are already seeing dramatically increased demand, even as the volunteers who do most of the work are less able to come in to help. Help is needed at the Masbia Soup Kitchen Network in Boro Park & Flatbush,” he wrote. “Masbia was our partner in Hurricane Sandy, miraculously providing food for a month for the 500+ frail elderly at Park Slope Armory. They operate both a food pantry & soup kitchen at their two Brooklyn sites. They have transitioned to grab & go meals. Their food pantries are now giving two weeks of food at a time.”

“They need volunteers at both locations. Yesterday, they had to turn away a truck full of food from City Harvest food because of a lack of volunteers. Volunteer work mostly does not involve direct contact with clients: stocking shelves, sorting & packing food, driving/delivery,” he said.

“Obviously, please be thoughtful about whether you can or should volunteer. Aggressive social distancing is essential. But so is making sure that people who are homeless or hungry can eat during the crisis,” he continued. “Do not volunteer if you are not feeling well, or think you have been recently exposed. But if you can, this is an exception to social distancing that I think makes sense. They have gloves/masks/aprons, but you can bring your own if you prefer.”

Additionally, if you are quarantined and cannot pick up food, you can sign up for Masbia’s home delivery service here. To donate to Masbia’s fundraising campaign to help pay for the increase in food demand, click here. To volunteer, click here. 

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Zainab Iqbal

Zainab is a staff reporter at Bklyner who sometimes writes poetry in her free time || zainab@bklyner.com

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