The Brooklyn Pantry provides Thanksgiving assist because the difficult vacation season begins

Masbia’s pantry in Borough Park has drawn long lines this week. Some traveled from across the city to forage staple foods at a time when the pandemic has increased food insecurity.

This story was originally published by THE CITY on November 25th. Sign up here to receive the latest stories from THE CITY every morning.

Senaira Alvarez joined New Utrecht Avenue Tuesday morning, waiting to collect essentials from Masbia’s pantry in Borough Park before Thanksgiving.

Alvarez sought help for her family of five after she and her husband lost their jobs at the start of the coronavirus outbreak in March.

“Thanks to people like them, we will have something to eat to survive,” Alvarez said after picking up sliced ​​turkey, cooking oil, pasta, canned beans and bread.

“There’s nothing to do this holiday season even if we wanted to,” she added. “We don’t have enough to share with a larger community.”

The pandemic has increased the number of people facing food insecurity. A recent Robin Hood report found that nearly a third of New Yorkers said they used a pantry in the past 12 months, compared with 12 percent before the pandemic.

Here’s a look at how a Brooklyn pantry remedy at the start of a uniquely challenging holiday season:


Photo: Hiram Alejandro Durán / THE CITY

Masbia employees piled supplies on three tables in front of the pantry as people started picking up food at 7 a.m. on Tuesday. The pantry was operational 24/7 from Sunday to Thursday during the outbreak.

Photo: Hiram Alejandro Durán / THE CITY

The pantry gave away about a dozen whole turkeys in the morning.

Photo: Hiram Alejandro Durán / THE CITY

The pantry served about 100 people on Tuesday morning. Some regular customers come from all over the city, Masbia workers said. It can take two hours to get to the pantry for Staten Islanders using local transit.

Photo: Hiram Alejandro Durán / THE CITY

A security guard recorded the temperatures of the staff and anyone else entering the pantry facade.

Photo: Hiram Alejandro Durán / THE CITY

Masbia gave away other turkey products before the holiday.

Photo: Hiram Alejandro Durán / THE CITY

Ashraf Ashour noted that the pantry is one of the few places he can pick up halal food.

“I haven’t worked since March and we need this food to get through the vacation,” Ashour said after getting supplies for his family of three and two Midwood neighbors who were unable to leave their homes.

Photo: Hiram Alejandro Durán / THE CITY

The pantry worker Carolina Sanchez quickly refills the food.

Photo: Hiram Alejandro Durán / THE CITY

Masbia sets dates when people can pick up supplies with an app called Plentiful. The service allows residents to set a time in one of seven languages. But there may still be some language barriers when they arrive, said inventory manager Alexander Rapaport.

Photo: Hiram Alejandro Durán / THE CITY

“I’ve been coming here since the pandemic started when I was unemployed,” said Rufina Lopez, a former kitchen worker who supports three children.

“I don’t know what can be done to save this holiday season,” she added. “I’ll be at home and spend time with the people I live with, only the people I live with.”

Photo: Hiram Alejandro Durán / THE CITY

The pantry workers in Masbia, recently stacked, were delivering groceries along New Utrecht Avenue at 8 a.m., preparing for a full day to support a city ravaged by a virus.

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