On March 17, 2020, as New York City shut down due to Covid-19, BroSis made the difficult decision to close our doors.
Less than one week later, we returned to the office to conduct our first emergency food distribution. While a terrified city quarantined in place, our staff distributed 6,000 meals in response to a growing food scarcity that we identified before it became a national story.
We conducted these food distributions every two weeks until on May 27, 2020 we moved to a weekly food distribution model, growing the effort to include both youth members and our larger community.
That was 52 weeks – a full calendar year – ago.
Through a global pandemic, despite rain and snow and extreme heat and cold, our staff has shown up for our community every single week, distributing about 600,000 meals.
On this 52nd consecutive food distribution, we want to elevate our staff who without pause have held our young people and our community close, our volunteers who have joined us in this work and given so much of themselves, and you – our friends, partners, and supporters.
Thank you for standing with us.
Reflections from BroSis staff:
“This year has taught me a lot about family, faith, and resiliency. Every time I lace my boots, throw on my sweats and BroSis t-shirt I do so with a sense of humility and duty to my community. The food pantry at BroSis has given me a deeper understanding of what it means to truly serve; to put the needs of others before myself and help to provide a temporary respite from a multitude of hardships our membership and community face, especially food insecurity. I’ve had the honor of laboring with co-workers, alumni, board members, and volunteers while still enjoying one another’s company – sharing laughter, exchanging stories, breaking bread, all while mitigating a chaotic unknown outside our doors. While it has been tough at times, our response during this crisis has been consistent with our core tenets Community, Positivity, Knowledge & Future. We’ve been able to collectively manifest these ideals through earnest deeds, not empty rhetoric – which is why I am still here striving to live towards these words every day by what I do, not what I say because our community deserves that.”
– Juan Tavarez, Brotherhood Coordinator and Alumnus
“52 weeks that the government didn’t do enough, 52 weeks that our community was hungry, 52 weeks that BroSis stepped in and stepped up.”
– Kelly Ortiz, Office Manager and Alumna
“When we closed our doors and moved remotely, I immediately noticed the need from both our community and our members for food. Clearly this was a environmental issue and I knew it was my duty to step up and help in any way I could to support our community. As a result, early on I decided to be part of the team who would help to distribute food from our headquarters. Being a environmental component to this organization and knowing the food insecurities that many of our members face put me in a position where I wanted to take every step necessary to navigate our current climate.”
– Gabriel José Maldonado, Environmental Facilitator
“Being able to be involved in the food distribution this last year has been monumental and vital for our community. As we fed our community this last year, I felt my spirit being fed at the same time. Week by week being able to connect with members, families and community that we have been serving during such a period of uncertainty, isolation, and heaviness allowed us to find joy in connection and support. 52 weeks ago I felt just how powerfully our love poured through to those around us and one year later, it is an honor to see that love continue to shine and be unwavering in its ability to reach others.”
– Brittany Reyes, Sister Sol Coordinator
“I feel like it was still yesterday, 52 weeks seems unreal. I was scared about what was going on and what was happening to people around the world. I feared most for my mother and elder family members whom I can not help because of their distance from me. But I also worried about the people in my communities. Once I started to hear that food and supplies were beginning to be hard for people to attain, I felt a horrible feeling that thighs were going to become very dangerous and violent for everyone.
As BroSis was beginning to develop a plan to help our members with emergency support, Corbin Hill Farm was looking for a site where they can distribute their weekly CSA from because all other sites were closing down because of the city shut down, and community folks began to act and talk desperate, I knew I was going to be part of the support team to help continue providing for the community.
I asked and volunteer to continue to open the office for Corbin Hill Farm CSA, began talking to my network about food support programs or access and I volunteer for BroSis 1st food distribution for members and community folks. Once I heard the BroSis food distribution would be continuing I asked that it be on a Wednesday and that I would volunteer to deliver any to members that could not make it to the office. 52 weeks later the line has grown from around 100 people to close to 500 and I only missed 12 weeks because my daughter was being born within the middle of the pandemic.”
– Nando Rodriguez, Environmental Program Coordinator