By Frank and Alexis Mena
See List of Food Pickup Days / Times / Locations at the bottom of this page.
In times of uncertainty and pressure either the pipes will burst or one will find the leaks and patch where they are needed, until the full pipe is replaced. The pipe that needs replacing is in East New York and Brownsville, where food apartheid is prevalent. This means that although there may be healthy food available, it is not always accessible or affordable to every resident. Especially during this time of the Covid-19 pandemic, our community that is majority Black, Brown, and Latinx people, is seeing fresh vegetables and fruit at a premium with higher and overpriced produce due to transportation and other issues.
As of March 2020 Universe City NYC has shifted towards a CoVID19 response effort through rapid emergency food production and distribution, and by creating a Community Aid network for East Brooklyn. We are currently collaborating with Brownsville Multi-Services and Health Center, Collective Fare, BCCC, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration NYC Chapter, Agape Food Rescue, Men Elevating Leadership INC., Teens for Food Justice, BMCS, Brooklyn Packers, and City Harvest as a coordinated community food hub for receiving, storing, and distributing hundreds of pounds of food to the most vulnerable in our community.
Our active response was the result of the state mandated quarantine which led to the closure of several pantries throughout Brownsville and East New York. Through Collective Fare’s Meals for All and BMS’s FoodBag & ‘Farmacy’ program we have combined our efforts to provide direct aid to the communities of East Brooklyn . The majority of food donations have been from restaurants that were forced to close and restaurant distributors. These donations will not be as widely available in 90 to 180 days, leaving a gap in food to distribute.
Universe City NYC works with these partners to coordinate, transport or organize distribution possibilities. Along with finding more strategic partners to continue to grow the mutual aid hub. Universe City NYC would like to expand it’s pilot commercial closed loop aquaponic system with capacity to grow 400 pounds of produce, 100 pounds of cucumbers, and 50 pounds of fish monthly.
Our produce will be made available to residents of the shelters, NYCHA residents and senior centers throughout the COVID-19 crisis for free or sliding scale.
BROWNSVILLE – Food Pickup Days/Times/Locations
69 Belmont Ave.
Food Pantry Pickup – Tuesdays & Thursdays 1pm-5pm
Free Hot Meals – Tuesdays & Thursdays 5pm-7pm
FoodBag & Hot Meal Distribution
Howard Houses – Fridays 1pm until supplies last – 347-425-8852
Van Dyke Houses – Wednesdays 1pm until supplies last – firstname.lastname@example.org
Glenmore Plaza Houses – Fridays 3pm until supplies last – email@example.com
Collective Fare: Latoya Meaders 929=342-9246 Lmm@collectivefare.com
BMS: Alexis Mena firstname.lastname@example.org
Universe City NYC: Franklyn Mena 347-652-5130 email@example.com