NYCFC helping with coronavirus impact close to home

di Stefano Bentivogli
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Thousands of people are currently struggling for food in the South Bronx. NYCFC is stepping up for its neighbors to put a dent in that figure.

The team is delivering 100,000 meals to residents in the area, not far from its Yankee Stadium home, a move that comes after it previously announced a $1.4 million fund alongside the Yankees for gameday staff.

The meal contribution, in conjunction with NY Common Pantry, is funded by a six-figure donation and addresses a glaring need for resources in the team’s backyard. NY Common Pantry, which had a pre-existing relationship with the club, bills itself as “the largest community-based food pantry in the City” and places a particular focus on the homeless population.

“New York Common Pantry is a lifesaving organization and we are proud to do anything we can to contribute to this important work and help our neighbors in the South Bronx stay connected, healthy and fed during this crisis,” NYCFC CEO Brad Sims said in a release. “This is a critical time for New York City, and we are committed to helping communities and individuals, who may need support.”

The club emphasized its desire to specifically help out the South Bronx, which both has an incredible need for food and is often lacking the resources it needs to combat that issue. According to NY Common Pantry Executive Director Stephen Grimaldi, 26 percent of the city’s food insecure (lacking access to food) population live in the Bronx, a figure that exceeds 375,000 people. His organization is hoping NYCFC’s donation will raise the public’s consciousness of this issue.

“As nonprofits, we spend so much time providing service that we just don’t [sometimes have] the ability to disseminate all this information in a way that would make more and more people aware of it,” Grimaldi said. “The power they have is to disseminate information, and to let people know we’re there.”

The club linked to NY Common Pantry’s website in a March 31 tweet to its 394,000 followers in an apparent tease of its just-announced donation.

The meals will be available for pickup and delivery (in accordance with social distancing rules) via NY Common Pantry’s Choice Pantry Bronx (CPBx) location at Freeman Street and Hoe Avenue, which has been starkly impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. Grimaldi said that new intake at the location has more than tripled since the first week of March, with previous patrons often returning for meals as well.

NYCFC also learned Tuesday night that three of its partners — Goya, Dumbo Moving and Storage and Xylem — would also be supporting NY Common Pantry. Another one of its partners, BodyArmor, made a donation of beverages last month.

The donation comes at an undoubtedly critical time, with the rising unemployment rate leaving many New Yorkers in need of food. NYCFC indicated its partnership with the charity would outlast the current health crisis.

“This is just the beginning,” Grimaldi said.

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