Bushwick Abbey, an Episcopal church that describes itself as a “queer-friendly Christian community,” is calling on those in and around the neighborhood to help feed the hungry.
Located on the corner of Himrod Street and St. Nicholas Avenue, Bushwick Abbey recently installed its Tiny Purple Pantry right outside of the church. In an effort to help feed more people and add variety to its food offerings, the church also plans to install a refrigerator next to the pantry following Easter.
However, with so many people left jobless and hungry amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the church has struggled to keep the pantry consistently full. And the same dilemma is expected to occur with the refrigerator. For that reason, Bushwick Abbey says they are looking for help.
“Food insecurity has risen, and we have been aware of that,” Reverend Nell Archer, the vicar of the church, told Bushwick Daily. “I think it is pretty clear if you drive through the streets of Brooklyn and see lines that are blocks and blocks long of people trying to get into food pantries that were already established before the pandemic.”
“Once we got the pantry up, I could stock it every hour,” added Reverend Vince Anderson, the church’s minister of music and community arts. “Just based on the demand, the pantry can be cleared out as soon as there is food up there.”
Like most food pantries, the idea of the Tiny Purple Pantry is for people to leave what they’d like and help themselves to what they need. The same rule will apply with the refrigerator.
Currently, Bushwick Abbey is seeking nonperishable food donations, such as canned foods, rice, and peanut butter, for its Tiny Purple Pantry. But after Easter, when the refrigerator is up and running, the church will welcome produce and other perishable items. But the church does ask that all perishable items be both bagged and dated.
Bushwick Abbey is also calling out for volunteers to do things like pick up food from local restaurants, stores, and food vendors and clean out the pantry and refrigerator after it is installed.
In addition to encouraging more churchgoers and local community members to spread the word, volunteer, and donate, the team at Bushwick Abbey is hopeful that nearby businesses will increase their involvement as well.
“At the end of the day, if they have any products that they typically wouldn’t sell the next day to their customers, like day-old bread or something like that, we would welcome that,” added Reverend Archer.
“One of the criminal things that go on in this country is that there is just so much food waste,” she added. “I know that restaurants, shops, and delis don’t want to contribute to that any more than they have to, so we hope to alleviate some of that as well.”
Individuals and businesses who want to get involved or have any further questions should reach out to [email protected].
To stay up to date on the status of the refrigerator, check its Instagram account.
Cover image: Rev. Nell Archer
Second image: A.J. Rourk
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