KIPP HS provides food bank for community


While food is slowly running out and it’s difficult to get anywhere due to the spread of COVID-19, one school is making sure people are fed.

KIPP College Prep High School, 201 E 144th St, recently teamed up with Food Bank NYC to set up a food pantry for the community and last week received a delivery of 192 gallons of milk, 900 dozen eggs, 768 boxes of pasta and household items like dish sets, gloves and boots.

They also have received donations, such as 600 pounds of potatoes from Five Guys, 65 pre-made salads from Chop’t and All in Queens. This is all in addition to providing fresh grab-and-go food meals every day.

The pantry is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“I see some people who don’t have access to good food,” said Mike Ioli, KIPP assistant principal who is spearheading the initiative. “People are super appreciative.”

Ioli, who has been an educator for nearly two decades, explained his involvement with food began five years ago. In 2015 he went to culinary school at night and a year later, started a new healthy breakfast and lunch program at KIPP. It became quite popular in the school.

When the schools were shuttered by the governor, Ioli and his colleagues continued to provide breakfast, lunch and grab-and-go meals.

However, knowing fewer places were open to purchase food, Ioli wanted to do more. So he got in touch with the Food Bank NYC and launched the makeshift food pantry March 23 and by Friday, almost all of the food was gone. The staff also gave away about 250 boxes of food.

Ioli noted he was blown away by the amount of people that came.

“We turned the cafeteria into a pantry,” Ioli said. “We’re like wow this is amazing. We didn’t think we could pull this off. Let’s do this again.”

Ioli is hoping to get more food from the food bank this week and launch a second food pantry in the coming days. Many people in the south Bronx don’t have the funds or luxury of being near a large supermarket, so this was a big boost for many people, he said.

KIPP is also preparing food for KIPP Freedom in the Bronx as well as a big multi-school delivery to Harlem on Friday.

Ioli told the Bronx Times he understands the risk he is taking by coming to the school, but being able to help others makes it worth it.

“Many families are living in financial insecurity,” he said.

Looking ahead, the principal noted he wouldn’t be surprised if the whole school year was wiped out. He taught during Hurricane Sandy and right after 9/11, but this is a different beast, he said. No one knows when things will return to normal and it’s not a good feeling.

“We’re in unchartered territory,” he said. “We’re trying to figure it out as we go.”



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