After weeks of advocacy from four Northwest Bronx legislators, the city will open the first kosher food grab-and-go site in the Bronx this coming week.
Starting May 11, the Bronx will no longer be the only borough without a kosher food distribution site as food will be handed out at P.S. 24 at 660 W. 236th St. in Riverdale, as part of the city’s Get Food program.
Assemblyman Jeffrey Dinowitz, Councilman Andrew Cohen, Senator Alessandra Biaggi and Congressman Eliot Engel have been pleading for kosher food offerings in the northwest Bronx to help serve observant residents experiencing food insecurity, lobbying the mayor’s office and Food Czar Commissioner Kathryn Garcia through emails and phone calls. Elected officials representing the northwest Bronx also sent a joint letter amplifying the request for kosher meal availability in the Bronx earlier this week.
Since the launch of the city’s Kosher meal program, Biaggi’s office has been in frequent communication with the mayor’s office in trying to get these meals to the Bronx and in the meantime has been working with nonprofits to deliver glatt Kosher meals across the borough.
Cohen and Dinowitz celebrated the announcement of P.S. 24, which was not previously a designated meal hub, as a new grab-and-go kosher food site, bringing the citywide total to 18 sites across five boroughs. There are tens of thousands of kosher-observant households in the northwest Bronx and unemployment figures are expected to exceed 20 percent in New York City by next month.
Kosher homes in need are currently being served by a patchwork of kosher food assistance providers and Jewish-affiliated nonprofit organizations, however resources are limited and programs lack the capacity to accommodate same-day requests like the NYC DOE Meal Hubs do. This new site will help relieve the pressure on these providers that have been struggling to meet the increase in demand.
Dinowitz and Cohen praised the decision and are glad the administration is supporting the Jewish community.
“The addition of this new kosher meal site in Riverdale is an important first step to address the need among the large observant community here in the Bronx,” they said. “We are eager to continue working with the mayor and Commissioner Garcia to ensure observant Bronx residents experiencing food insecurity are not left out of the important programs available to New Yorkers. The current crisis has escalated food insecurity among residents to unprecedented levels and emergency food assistance providers in the Bronx are stretched thin. The city’s work to support their services is essential to ensuring that no one goes hungry during this difficult time.”