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Group’s superior work rewarded

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The annual Neighborhood Awards Reception recently served as an evening of appreciation for the 19 Bronx organizations that received special recognition from the Citizens Committee for New York City for their commitment and dedication to community improvement.

“Community groups are the heart and soul of the neighborhoods of the Bronx, and they are also the muscle and the voice of each community,” said Peter Kostmayer, president of Citizens Committee for New York City.

Among the honorees was For a Better Bronx, awarded for their involvement with local projects that increase the quality of life in their community.

“We’re an environmental justice group that’s working to dismantle racism, struggling for food justice and access for recognizing the work and leadership of youth and community members,” said Rachael Leiner, director of programs at For a Better Bronx.

Continuing their community efforts, on July 16, the group will host a farmer’s market at the St. Padre Plaza at 139th Street and St. Ann’s Avenue.

“That will provide Bronx residents access to fresh, locally grown and partly organic food,” Leiner explained.

She added it’s also important to the Mott Haven/Hunts Point organization to continuously work with community youth.

One of their main youth-run projects, the Home Produce Project, provides local residents with boxes to grow fresh food and vegetables in their homes.

“That’s to raise consciousness and awareness that people can grow food in any amount of space,” Leiner said.

The group is also looking to secure a three-acre piece of land at the intersection of 138th Street and Grand Concourse for an urban farm. Leiner explained the space would produce food for their farmer’s market and local food pantries, as well as serve as an eco-classroom for area schools.

“We’re a small organization doing big things,” she said.

Other organizations honored were The Urban Institute of Mathematics in Throggs Neck, Westchester Square Resident Association in Westchester Square, Pelham Bay Taxpayers and Civic Association in Pelham Bay, 445 E. 171st Street Block Association in Claremont Village; Bronx Land Trust; the Validus Prep Environmental Club; 1560 Grand Concourse Tenant Association; Louis Gehrig Academy on the Grand Concourse; Alfred E. Smith CTE High School; C.S. 50 in Claremont Village; the New Explorers High School for Film and the Humanities in Mott Haven; 1150 Grand Concourse Tenant Association; C.S. 211 in Morrisania; John Phillip Sousa Middle School 142 in Baychester; La Familia Verde, in Crotona; P.S. 109: The Sedgewick School; the South Bronx Local Growers and the Jackson Avenue Block Association. 

Updated 5:30 pm, October 21, 2011
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