East Side House’s headquarters lies within the poorest Congressional District in the United States, which includes neighborhoods like Mott Haven, Morrisania, Hunt’s Point, and East Tremont. Here in the South Bronx, nearly half of all residents live below the poverty line, including one in five Bronxites who face food insecurity. The most grim, perhaps, is that the many of the children in our community have experienced not having enough to eat.
At our partner school, Entrada Academy, Program Director Stachee Matthew noticed that many of her students would ask her for snacks during the school day.
“I noticed a lot of Entrada’s students constantly asking for food and even packing left overs for their families at home after events. There were also many complaints of not being able to focus on school work because they were hungry, ” Ms. Matthew observed.
She decided to do something about it.
Matthew learned of a grant being offered by Food Bank of New York City, which would enable her to essentially open and operate a food pantry—in her school.
That’s how the SONYC Pantry was born.
The pantry, which opened in February, serves about sixty families a month and will be open until the end of the school year in June 2016.