Covid-19

The Brotherhood Sister Sol Response

to the COVID-19 Crisis

After shifting to virtual programming since March, and mounting a robust response to COVID-19 that included emergency food distribution, financial assistance, and much more, BroSis is pleased to announce that we have resumed some of our in-person programming as of July 6, 2020.

The Brotherhood Sister has responded to the Covid crisis in a deep and far reaching manner. Our emergency response to this crisis, which will continue for the foreseeable future, has already included hundreds of thousands of meals served, over 150 laptops and mobile hotspots distributed, and tens of thousands of dollars in direct financial assistance to our families, increased access to mental healthcare, and more.

All of this is being conducted in addition to our usual wrap-around support programming, mentorship, and love.

From March until June, during the height of the pandemic, we made the difficult decision to close our doors – for the first time in our history – and serve our young people remotely. BroSis has mounted a rapid and robust response to the COVID crisis, recognizing immediately that economically distressed New Yorkers – those living in poverty and near its edge – would have an exponentially more difficult time facing this pandemic. BroSis was designated an essential business by NYS and NYC – due to our emergency support of our members and community.

Over the summer we began in person programming once again – on July 6th – as well as continuing some remote work – a hybrid approach. We followed all NYC Department of Health guidelines for in person programming. 

This fall we have continued our hybrid approach – with remote programming and in person at three different sites in Harlem which allow for sufficient social distancing.

We rely heavily on the generosity of individuals and organizations to sustain our innovative programming.

Pre-COVID Challenges

Economic Poverty

In our community, the mean family income is $26,271 with over a third of residents living below poverty level. Many of our members live in households struggling to make ends meet.

Food Insecurity

Over 14 % of New Yorkers experience food insecurity, leading to a City-wide meal gap of 207 million in 2018. Bro/Sis provides over 14,000 meals to our youth members each year.

Youth Development

Insufficient educational opportunity, a lack of job skills & opportunities, and a sense of hopelessness are all part of the cycle of unfulfilled potential experienced by our youth members.

Manhattan has the largest income gap of any county in the country – according to the last Census, the top 5% of households earned $864,394,
88x as much as the poorest 20%, $9,822.

 

As is the case with any emergency situation, the community we serve – economically poor and lacking access to resources – will be hit especially hard.

Our Response

Emergency Food Distribution

Laptops & Hotspots

Financial Support

Mental Health Support

Virtual Sessions, Check-ins, & Tutoring

i

Online Resource Guide for Staff

Statistics

In Emergency Financial Assistance Allocated to Our Members & Families

Laptops & 8 Wifi Hotspots Provided To Support Remote Learning

Meals Distributed during weekly food distributions to both our youth and our Uptown/Bronx communities *As of 4/28/21

Timeline of The Brotherhood Sister Sol’s Response to the Covid Crisis

[

September/October/November/December

Bro/Sis continues to facilitate the portfolio of programs we customarily provide – including Rites of Passage, Environmental Programming, an array of arts programs, training of activists and organizers, college access and academic support, tutoring and and wellness, and political education. Our youth run farmers market continues as does our weekly food distribution that provides over 40,000 meals each month.

[

August

Bro/Sis summer programming concludes, with members participating in various educational experiences centered on social justice and the Black Lives Matter movement, the arts, environmental education, health, and wellness. 30,000 lbs of fresh fruit and vegetables distributed through our youth-run farmers’ market, which serves over 2,000 people. 40,000 meals provided through our weekly emergency food distributions. Check out our blog for additional updates.

[

July

After shifting to remote programming since March, Bro/Sis resumes in-person programming. The safety of our youth and staff is our utmost priority and we have planned for this reopening and are adhering to all NYC and NYS regulations. Summer programming provided includes a Summer Day Camp, workforce training, environmental education and programming, creative arts, college bootcamp, and fitness programming. For more information, please click here. Emergency support continues, including about 53,600 meals provided.

[

June

Bro/Sis holds weekly emergency food distributions, providing about 40,000 meals to Bro/Sis families and to the general public.  Emergency financial assistance, laptops & hotspots, and increased access to mental healthcare all continue. Bro/Sis also plans for in-person summer programming, with a priority on maintaining the safety of members and staff.

[

May 27

Bro/Sis holds 6th food distribution for the immediate community with contributions from our partners Colonial Verde/Basbaas Sauce, and Grow NYC

 

[

May 20

Bro/Sis begins to distribute weekly meals to youth members and the community. Our partnership with Grow NYC expands from our seasonal Bro/Sis Green Youth Market on Wednesdays to now support our food pantry with a contribution of boxes that include potatoes, fruits, vegetables, fruits, beans, and lentils until the end of August. West Harlem Group Assistance and Corbin Hill Food Project also contributed to the effort. 15,000 meals distributed up to this date.

[

May 6

Over 4,000 meals distributed to about 100 members and their families, as well as to almost 200 community members unaffiliated with Bro/Sis, in direct response to the increasing food insecurity we are seeing. In addition to community partners West Harlem Group Assistance and Corbin Hill Food Project, Harlem restaurant Field Trip and Brooklyn restaurant Colonial Verde contributed food to this effort. 

[

April 22

About 3,000 meals distributed to 500 individuals, including youth members, their families, and members of the local community. Brooklyn restaurant Colonial Verde generously donated a quart of stew for youth members – their dinner for the night.

[

April 8

Bro/Sis holds a 2nd food distribution, providing another 2,500 meals, with plans to continue every few weeks.

[

March 30 – April 3

All chapters and programs move to holding virtual sessions, tutoring, mental health counseling, and an online Resource Guide has been developed to provide a tool-box of community resources for members.

[

March 23 – 27

50 laptops & 8 wifi hotspots provided to members to support online learning. About 500 members are surveyed by staff to assess needs across housing, food, technology, mental health, physical health, and finances.

[

March 23

Bro/Sis distributes 200 bags of food to members, alumni & community members, providing about 600 people with 8 meals, 4,800 meals in total.

[

March 16

Bro/Sis temporarily closes our doors, fast-tracking $15,000 in emergency financial assistance to about 75 youth members, with another $40k expected in April.

Stay Up-to-Date

52 Straight Weeks of Food Distribution

52 Straight Weeks of Food Distribution

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 over 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.

BroSis featured on Fox 5 NY’s Good Day Street Talk

BroSis featured on Fox 5 NY’s Good Day Street Talk

BroSis youth organizer, Tida Dukuray, and Co-founder and Executive Director Khary Lazarre-White, spoke to Fox 5 NY about our work throughout the pandemic, and the web of support and opportunities we provide to our young people.

Brooklyn Artist, Social Justice Group Raise Coronavirus Awareness

Brooklyn Artist, Social Justice Group Raise Coronavirus Awareness

PROSPECT HEIGHTS, BROOKLYN – A Brooklyn-based artist has collaborated with a Harlem youth development and social justice organization in a project that helps to increase public awareness to the disproportionate number of coronavirus cases that occur among communities of color.

Summer at Bro/Sis

Summer at Bro/Sis

After closing our doors and transitioning to remote programming in March, Bro/Sis has resumed in-person programming this summer, abiding by all recommended safety protocols.

COVID-19: What it Reveals About America

COVID-19: What it Reveals About America

On May 28th we held a Facebook Live discussion on COVID-19’s disparate impact on low-income communities and communities of color, the public response, and a path forward.

Movement Time in America

Movement Time in America

The Covid 19 global pandemic that has infiltrated every aspect of our daily lives, has also brought further into the light, for all to see, the gross inequalities of our nation.

Creating Changemakers

Creating Changemakers

A black-led nonprofit in Harlem is keeping kids in school and out of trouble by giving them the tools they need to transcend racism, poverty, and now the coronavirus.

Support » Covid-19