Three hundred families each received two boxes of food as Catholic Charities of New York continued to assist New Yorkers in need and combat food insecurity by hosting a food pop-up distribution at Christ the King Church in the Bronx April 23.
Each family received a box of fresh produce and a box of non-perishable goods. The scheduled two-hour distribution of food was completed in about an hour.
Archdiocesan Catholic Charities has distributed more than 8 million meals since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.
“The people here, when I mentioned the food, asked, ‘Father, when are they coming.’ I said, ‘the 23rd of April,’” said Father Sixto Quezada, pastor of Christ the King parish for almost 10 years.
“They said ‘Thank God for us.’ People were happy to receive the gift.”
Father Quezada added his parish was hit hard by Covid-19 as many parishioners lost their lives to the virus, some lost family members and others lost their jobs.
“This is a community more in the service industry, and they were the hardest hit at this time,” said Mayte Orta-Hernandez, parish business manager for more than 20 years. “I would assume it is getting better. Everything is opening up. The need is still there for families.
“The gratitude in their faces was wonderful to see and it’s nice we could give back to the community. During this time, they are so present in church coming to Mass. They’re hoping we have another (pop-up food distribution). I’m in the middle of writing a letter to Catholic Charities to see if we could have another food distribution.”
Angel Negron, 69, organized parish volunteers to assist with the distribution of food and said he’ll be ready to gather volunteers if Catholic Charities returns to distribute more food.
“Most of the families are from the neighborhood,” he said of the families who received food. “They were very grateful. They were smiling. They were thanking me. I said, ‘Don’t thank me, thank Catholic Charities, they were responsible for this.’”
Rolando Rodriguez, who has worked for Catholic Charities since March 2020 as food pantry and hub supervisor, organized the pop-up food distribution. He was joined at Christ the King by Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, executive director of Catholic Charities of New York, and Corina Pintor-Holloman, program director for Catholic Charities’ Feeding Our Neighbors.
Rodriguez said Catholic Charities has been hosting a pop-up food distribution each Friday at locations in Manhattan, the Bronx and Westchester County to help families in those communities. Catholic Charities returned to the borough to distribute food at the Bronx Terminal Market April 30.
“There were a lot of people stopping to tell us their stories,” said Rodriguez of his morning at Christ the King. “They were very appreciative.”