On Wednesday, December 20, the New York Yankees kicked off their annual Holiday Food Drive.
The event was held inside Gate Two of Yankee Stadium. The temperature for this semi-enclosed area felt closer to the upper 30s, but it did not deter fans and community members from stopping by to donate.
“I do this every year. It’s for the less fortunate,” said Edgar Torres, a Soundview resident who donated over 250 pounds of potatoes. “It’s good to do this. I wish everyone did this.”
For every 30 pounds of food donated, the Yankees gifted two free tickets to 2018 regular season games to the donors.
“I’m trying to help spread the joy and help out,” said Ethan Perez, an 8th grader from the Immaculate Concepcion School in the south Bronx. Ethan, along with his school principal, Sr. Patrice Owens and a few other classmates helped deliver 4,200 pounds of food the Immaculate Concepcion School donated.
“We are ten blocks south of here,” Owens, who had been facilitating the donation to this drive for her school over the years, explained. “Being apart of this wonderful thing that the Yankees do for the community, we feel that it’s a win/win.”
The food collected at this drive was sent directly to the Kingsbridge Armory, where over 50 volunteers were already in the process of packing and sorting the first donation from Krasdale Foods.
“When we started this the goal was to create a gathering point for all of our fans to come together to give back to the community,” said Deborah Tymon, the senior vice president of Marketing for the New York Yankees.
“The very first drive collected about 2,000 pounds of food and here we are on the 24th anniversary with our corporate partner Krasdale and they have kicked off the event with over 60,000 pounds of food donated,” Tymon continued.
“Krasdale has a long history of giving back to the community, we’ve been doing business in the Bronx for 110 years,” said Dennis Hickey, the chief merchandising officer of Krasdale Foods. “It’s real appropriate giving back to the community, food, in a festive time, to people that can’t afford it to allow them the opportunity to have a meal and enjoy the holidays like they should.”
The drive has been coordinated by Bishop Dr. Timothy Birkett of the Church Alive Community Church since it started 24 years ago.
“The Bronx is probably one of the poorest areas, especially the south Bronx,” remarked Birkett. “It has been a real blessing especially during Christmas time to give people food. It’s labor intensive, but it’s a labor of love.”
After the food is sorted at the Kingsbridge Armory, the food gets packed into smaller, family-sized portions and sent to 27 churches all over the Bronx to be distributed to the different neighborhoods in the borough.
Yankees pitcher Dellin Betances also took part in the event, helping collect and weigh donations and distribute tickets to fans.
“I think it’s big growing up in the community I did. I think it was always important when people gave back to us,” said Betances, who grew up in neighboring Washington Heights. “Now I have the platform and the chance to be out here representing the community I came from and at the same time give back.”