Is one of your New Year’s resolutions to get more involved with Greenpoint’s vibrant volunteer community? Here are five ways you can help a hardworking neighborhood volunteer program, the Greenpoint Church Hunger Program on Milton Street, to feed the folks who need a warm meal on these cold winter days.
1. Volunteer in the kitchen on a Wednesday evening between 3:00 p.m. and 7:30 p.m and recreate that winter soup you love to Instagram. You can cook, set up, serve and/or clean, and you don’t have to show up at 3:00 p.m. If you have a day job, show up after work to see how you can help.
There’s plenty to do, and on a recent December day I was able to help unpack groceries and set them up for the next day’s food pantry, chop and throw together a spinach, beet and feta salad, serve clients food, and help clean up. It was fun and I really enjoyed working with fellow volunteers.
2. Distribute groceries on Thursdays from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. The Hunger Program has a client choice model, meaning that clients select the groceries they need from a wide variety. The line often goes down the block for the food pantry!
You’ll help distribute groceries and staff the distribution tables, and you may get asked to help with other odd jobs. Please email Reverend CB Stewart at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
You could also swing by on a Wednesday night, volunteer for the soup kitchen, and see how the prep for Thursday morning’s pantry is going. There might be an opportunity already to unpack food from boxes and load groceries onto distribution tables.
3. Purchase some supplies for the kitchen. There are several items the Hunger Program uses regularly. Per Pastor Ann, they are best purchased from Costco, since those products are the most heavy duty.
- Heavy duty clear recycling bags. Bag it up here.
- Heavy duty large garbage bags (drum liners), at least 55 gal. size. Purchase here or here.
- Heavy duty Chinet plates. Provide strong plates for all that delicious food you’ll be cooking by purchasing here.
- Large Aluminum pans. You can get those here.
- Olive oil. Simply purchase and drop off.
- Butter. Simply purchase and drop off.
- Coffee. Simply purchase and drop off.
- Iced tea/lemonade mix. Simply purchase and drop off.
4. Donate. It costs $4,000 a week to feed the hungry folks who come to get a hot meal and groceries. Much of the money comes from government food programs, but the Hunger Program still needs $1,500 a week for additional food, utilities, building maintenance, volunteer coordination and administration. Also, share the donation website on social media.
You can also write a check payable to The Greenpoint Reformed Church Hunger Program. Mail donations to: Greenpoint Reformed Church, 136 Milton Street, Brooklyn, NY 11222.
5. Offer your skills. Are you a contractor, an electrician, a mechanic, a healthcare professional or a car owner? The Hunger Program sometimes needs those with cars to help with pickups of goods, healthcare professionals to administer flu shots, and skilled fix-it folks to help when things go awry. Add yourself to the on-call help list for the church by emailing email@example.com.
The pastors, staff and volunteers at the Hunger Program work tirelessly to feed the people of North Brooklyn, and they’re a superfun crew. This is not a somber, serious environment — we were in the kitchen joking, laughing and discussing cooking methods and favorite foods all afternoon. If you’re looking to make new friends, volunteer for a community in need, and donate to a great local organization this year, this is it.
You don’t need to be religious or of any kind of affiliation at all to volunteer. So get out of your tiny, stuffy apartment on these cold winter Wednesday nights and Thursday mornings and head down to this friendly church on Milton Street.
PS – I also hear they might be looking for a food processor, if anyone has one they’d like to drop off!