The grocery store is donating 20,000 pineapples to the Brooklyn pantry. • Brooklyn Paper
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A Red Hook Marine Terminal and a food importer from Queens have teamed up to donate 20,000 pineapples to groups and food pantries in Brooklyn.
“We talked about what was going on with the coronavirus and the unemployed and tried to figure out what we could do to help, ”said Mike Stamatis, president of Red Hook Container Terminal, which imports much of the city’s products. “It was just one way for us to support the local community that has really always supported us. “
The Red Hook Container Terminal received two shipping containers of pineapples from Costa Rica the week before Easter and worked with elected officials and food rescue organizations to donate the fresh produce to residents of Red Hook, Gowanus and Sunset Park.
City Harvest, which distributed the bulk of the donations, said the tropical fruits are a special treat for many pantries, which mostly receive canned or shelf-stable grains.
“The pineapple is a very unique product that the agencies don’t see often, ”said Saul Puche, grocery procurement coordinator, who said the nonprofit had given out more than 48,000 pounds of pineapple. “The shipping containers themselves are so big that they cannot fit into the warehouse doors.”
City Harvest gave the pineapple to tThe Sunset Park Corps, Holding Hands Ministries, the Center for Family Life, the Pentecostal Christian Movement, and Park Slope Christian Health Inc. – who diversified the shelves of pantries.
“I’d say we get pineapples once a year, ”said Joel Matos, president of Sunset Park Pantry, Holding Hands Ministries. “We serve a very Hispanic community. So they love pineapples, they got excited. ”
The donation comes as food pantries across the city see an unprecedented surge in demand. Mantos said so many locals have come to his pantry since the COVID-19 outbreak began in mid-March that he has been forced to turn people away.
“This is the first time we’ve seen so many people, ”he said. “I’ve never seen anyone beg for food like that. The day we had to turn away, people started kneeling. I’ve never seen that before. ”
On Friday, Red Hook Container Terminal and its partner, grocer Redi Fresh Produce Inc., plan to donate tens of thousands of bananas to other local organizations that will receive the donations in the next few days.
“We have more bananas ahead of us, “said Peter Malo, who runs Redi Fresh Produce Inc.” They’ll likely be here for the next week. “