New York Edge and partners launch three school food pantries, including one at P.S. 113X in North Bronx

New York Edge Youth
New York Edge students perform during Wednesday’s celebration of P.S. 113X’s new food pantry on March 13, 2024.
Photo courtesy Garden of Dreams Foundation

Three New York City schools, including one in the North Bronx, have new food pantries that will provide students with the meals and supplies they need during the course of the academic school year.

On Wednesday, March 13, non-profit organization New York Edge, the Garden of Dreams Foundation and Council Member Kevin Riley’s office, along with students and teachers, celebrated a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the opening of three new food pantries. The event was held at P.S. 113X, located in the Olinville neighborhood of the Bronx, where one of the pantries has now opened.

The ceremony, which also celebrated the opening of the two other food pantries managed by New York Edge — one at a school in Manhattan and the other in Queens — included dance performances put on by students as well as speeches from students who expressed their appreciation for receiving the new school amenity.

The Garden of Dreams Foundation provided more than $130,000 in total funding for the three schools, with its allocation ensuring that each school has a food pantry equipped with industrial refrigeration and storage space for food. The pantries also provide clothing, school supplies and other items, in addition to serving as a welcoming community space for the students and their families.

For instance, P.S. 113X, a New York Edge school site that consists of middle schools North Bronx School of Empowerment and Leaders of Tomorrow, provides not only meals, but also clothing as well as home goods for its students.

“The purpose of having these new food pantries is to reduce food insecurity conditions for students and their families, while also providing students with the essentials they need to learn, strive and be successful,” said Gregory Dickinson, director of community engagement for New York Edge.

Dickinson added that New York Edge, along with the Garden of Dreams Foundation and several local elected officials, identified students’ needs while also focusing on areas in the city that are considered food deserts, where residents do not have easy access to quality food and home goods that are within their budget.

“The expenses of food, as well as clothing and school supplies, can be costly — and we are hoping to alleviate that burden for the students and their families,” Dickinson added.

New York Edge, which is a longtime partner of the Garden of Dreams Foundation, focuses on bridging the opportunity gap between students from affluent backgrounds and those from underprivileged communities. For instance, the non-profit organization is the city’s largest provider of school-based after-school programs, serving more than 25,000 young people across more than 100 locations.

“I’m here at this event today filled with both great pride and tremendous excitement,” said Jahmal Yapp, deputy chief of staff for Council Member Riley, who worked with New York Edge as well as the Garden of Dreams Foundation to help P.S. 113X’s food pantry come to fruition.

“Here in the Bronx, we have experienced issues of food insecurity, but this new addition serves as a beacon of hope for the students as well as the community,” Yapp added.

Wednesday afternoon’s ribbon-cutting ceremony was also attended by two New York City sports greats — New York Rangers alumnus Brian Mullen as well as former New York Knicks alumnus John Starks.

New York Edge students had a chance to meet New York sports greats Brian Mullen (r) and John Starks. Photo courtesy Garden of Dreams Foundation

“It’s truly such an honor to be a part of this celebration of the opening of three new food pantries in the city,” said Mullen, who currently teaches hockey to local youth. “It’s important for children especially to know that they have food and other resources necessary to learn and strive.”

Mullen, who was named an NHL All-Star in 1989, played four seasons for the Rangers during the late ’80s and early ’90s and also spent his last NHL season of his 11-year career with the New York Islanders.

The leaders of Garden of Dreams Foundation, a non-profit dedicated to bringing life-changing opportunities to students and young people in need, said the organization is proud to be part of the initiative.

“We are so excited about this great opportunity that has been provided to students in the Bronx and throughout the city,” said Stacey-Ann Easy, executive director of the Garden of Dreams Foundation, who grew up on Carpenter Avenue and White Plains Road in the Wakefield section of the Bronx. “When I was growing up, I wish I had a food pantry at my school. When I was in grade school, I brought the same lunch to school everyday — cheese on bread.”

Ann Easy also introduced Starks, referencing perhaps Starks’ biggest moment with the Knicks. “Some of you kids might not know this, but did you know that (John) Starks once dunked on Michael Jordan?!” before Starks took the floor to speak.

Starks (l) and Mullen spoke to P.S. 113X students and families in attendance before the ribbon cutting for the school’s new food pantry, which also provides clothes, school supplies and other items, on Wednesday, March 13, 2024. Photo courtesy Garden of Dreams Foundation

“It takes a special person to believe in something that you do,” said Starks. “Council Member Kevin Riley believes in this — and he’s going to make sure that sure that this food pantry stays stocked.”

Starks, who went undrafted in 1988, played in the now-defunct minor leagues, the World Basketball League (WBL) and the Continental Basketball Association (CBA), before finding an NBA home with the Knicks in 1990 and becoming a defensive specialist.

“We are honored to celebrate this great collaboration between the Garden of Dreams Foundation, New York Edge and Council Member Kevin Riley,” Starks added. “Now, for the exciting part — let’s go cut this ribbon, so we can get this thing bumpin’.”

Starks celebrates the opening of P.S. 113X’s new food pantry on Wednesday, March 13, 2024. Photo courtesy Garden of Dreams Foundation

Starks, the Knicks’ all-time three-point leader, spent eight seasons in a Knicks uniform in the 1990s and was a key contributor alongside Patrick Ewing on the Pat Riley-coached Knicks team that reached the NBA Finals in 1994.

In 1994, he also established the John Starks Foundation, which provides scholarships and monetary gains for college-bound high school students from the New York metropolitan area as well as his hometown city of Tulsa, Oklahoma.

After the ribbon-cutting of P.S. 113X’s new pantry, Mullen and Starks shook hands, took pictures and handed out items to students who were in attendance. The families also received hot meals as well as pantry staples for their households following the event.

Reach Steven Goodstein at or (718) 260–8326. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes