On March 15, 2020, we launched the People In Need – COVID-19 Food Insecurity Campaign with the intention to serve just people in our community in Flatbush. However, the generosity of our neighbors has been overwhelming: donations have been used to buy food, start a community fridge, and we have benefited from the energy of over 400 volunteers ranging from ages 12 to 60, all from diverse socio-economic and cultural backgrounds. This all comes together in the dining room, donated by Jalsa – Grill & Gravy Indian restaurant at 964 Coney Island Avenue, from which PIN assembles and delivers family-sized food boxes to over 300 families a week. We have served more than 5,000 unique families multiple times throughout Brooklyn.
Each food box provides a two-week supply of culturally appropriate supplies for a family of five. These boxes include staples such as rice, flour, pasta, lentils, coffee, peanut butter, oil, and sugar along with perishables like onions, potatoes, tomatoes, fruits, vegetables, milk, and eggs. We try to meet the ethnic and religious dietary preferences of our community.
Our bi-monthly food box distribution events are paired with info-sessions where community service organizations are invited to provide information/assistance in connecting our community to local and government resources; all with the help of on-site interpreters fluent in 5 different languages. To date, we have distributed 8,500 boxes, each weighing 25 pounds of food and grocery items.
We serve a diverse range: elderly people who live in isolation, people with disabilities and special needs, single mothers, domestic abuse victims, and low-income, immigrant families who are primarily South-Asian, Latino, and Black. People In Need coordinates with several Parents Association groups and supports low-income families associated with the local public schools. They work closely with the Flatbush United Mutual Aid (FUMA) and the Kensington Windsor Terrace Mutual Aid (KWT) groups, West Brooklyn Waterfront Mutual Aid, Long Island Helpers, and Sanctuary of Families.
We have also held multiple online events – COVID19 Awareness & Vaccine Info Sessions, Unemployment Enrollment Assistance, Ranked-Choice Voter Education with District 40 City Council Candidate Forum.
None of our work would be possible without our dedicated volunteers, donors, and the following generous supporters: