BRK receives generous grant from the Park Slope Civic Council

Thanks to the Park Slope Civic Council for their generous donation. Here is a repost from their blog at https://parkslopeciviccouncil.org/the-civic-council-supports-the-brooklyn-relief-kitchenand-so-can-you/

The Civic Council Supports the Brooklyn Relief Kitchen…And So Can You!

Park Slope Civic Council trustees Erica Stauffer, Brian Reagor, Joe Rydell and Peter Bray presenting a $2500.00 grant to Katie O’Donnell and Andy and Piper Wandzilak, of The Brooklyn Relief Kitchen.
On Saturday, November 14, in recognition of the Brooklyn Relief Kitchen’s vital work in addressing the persistent hunger crisis throughout Brooklyn communities, the Park Slope Civic Council presented a $2,500 grant to Andy and Piper Wandzilak, BRK’s co-founders. Piper expressed her deep appreciation of the PSCC’s support by remarking that the grant will enable BRK to feed several thousand households in the coming weeks.
BRK’s Executive Chef Katie O’Donnell accepting PSCC grant with founders Andy and Piper Wandzilak.
BRK’s collection tent in front of the Old First Reformed Church was an apt backdrop for the grant ceremony, since the church has provided BRK with the space to prepare thousands of hot meals since its operation began in June, 2020. Volunteers staff the tent every week from Tuesday through Saturday, from 10am to 2pm.

The hot meals that the Brooklyn Relief Kitchen prepare are supplied to CHiPs Soup Kitchen and Camp Friendship, both in Park Slope; the Workers Justice Project; and the St. Marks United Methodist Church in Flatbush, all of which distribute meals to sustain many families and individuals whose livelihoods evaporated when the businesses that employed them shut their doors. Undocumented households have been a major recipient of BRK’s assistance, particularly as they have been denied Covid-19 relief benefits.

Since it appears likely that Covid-19 will be with us well into 2021, The Brooklyn Relief Kitchen’s services will continue to be needed to ameliorate food insecurity within our communities. Their task has been further complicated by ebbing Federal support for food programs in New York State.

For these reasons, we encourage our members, readers, and the Park Slope community to kindly chip in with financial support to enable the BRK to purchase food in bulk and continue their invaluable efforts in the community. Your donations enable BRK’s efforts to go much, much further.

Tax deductible financial donations can be made payable to BRK’s fiscal sponsor: The Old First Reformed Church, noting Brooklyn Relief Kitchen or BRK in the memo line, and sent to the church at: 729 Carroll Street, Brooklyn, NY 11215, or simply dropped off at its collection tent in front of Old First Reformed Church on Seventh Avenue and Carroll Street.
Additionally, if you are going on a food shopping expedition, you may also leave food items with the volunteers staffing the tent. The most urgently needed items are canned tuna, fruit, beans and soups, peanut butter/jelly, dried fruit and nuts, shelf-stable milk, pasta, rice and grains flour and sugar baby food/formula, baby supplies and disinfectant products. 

Please use your social media and email to urge your friends and neighbors to support Andy and Piper and the many volunteers who have made the Brooklyn Relief Kitchen an organization we can all be proud of.

The Park Slope Civic Council appreciates your generosity and commitment to this cause, as we embark on the upcoming holiday season. Thank you!

October Update

End of summer, early fall has turned out to be busier than anticipated for The Kitchen, though not surprisingly. As food insecurity in our community is growing, our small but mighty volunteer-led operation continues to expand and broaden its reach. We wish this was not the case, but here we are.

We have so many individuals, businesses and fellow organizations to thank – please know that all of us at The Kitchen are grateful for every share, dollar, food donation, muscle power and kind word that comes our way.

Hot Meals

Chef Kate and The Kitchen volunteers produce over 1800 meals each week. Meals are distributed by our partner organizations: CHiPS, Camp Friendship, St. Mark’s Church, Worker’s Justice Project. We provide hearty servings of much-needed meatloaf, vegetables, bbq chicken, rice and bean dishes, comforting mac and cheese, soups and often a homemade baked treat as well.

Produce/Pantry Boxes

Thanks to the USDA Farmers to Families program, and efforts involving a web of coordination with our friends at Council of People’s copo.org and Brooklyn Packers – who also work in tandem with The 9 Million Reasons Food Pantry at the Evangel Church in Queens which delivers 1,700 boxes of produce per week to St. Mark’s United Methodist Church and Worker’s Justice Project – we are able to assist in the city wide efforts to provide fresh ingredients for home cooking.

This means participants receive gallons of milk, eggs, cheese, grains, meat and vegetables. The Kitchen distributes hundreds of additional produce/pantry boxes as well for the bi-weekly pantry at St. Mark’s Church on Beverley Road, Worker’s Justice in Bensonhurst & Sunset Park, and the Camp Friendship Pantry. Our boxes are supplemented with local farm- fresh, seasonal vegetables generously donated by Brooklyn Grange/Sunset Park and The Flatbush Farm Share. On occasion, we even have a local neighbor donate heaps of freshly grown produce from her home garden in Sullivan County.

New Front Line Partner

Starting Thursday October 22, The Kitchen will be providing hot meals and produce/pantry boxes for The Caribbean Women’s Health Association (cwha.org). CWHA is a social service organization dedicated to providing high quality, culturally appropriate health, immigration and social support services to its diverse constituency. “Transforming Lives, Strengthening Families and Empowering Communities.”

In The Spotlight

On October 1st, Andy and Piper were invited to speak at The Park Slope Civic Council’s first in-person meeting since the pandemic, outside the Old Stone House, to share information about the Brooklyn Relief Kitchen. Attendees were very supportive and will continue to be a source of collaboration and assistance for The Kitchen.

On October 14th, Brooklyn Paper featured a story about The Kitchen. Access here: https://www.brooklynpaper.com/brooklyn-relief-kitchen-park-slope/

Creative Giving

We are humbled by the response and action of the members of this community. The “Pay it Forward,” concept of donating all or a portion of the
P-EBT cards sent to public school families has helped us to raise over two thousand dollars, which goes towards purchasing ingredients and supplies. Others have chosen to use their EBT card to purchase pantry items and baking supplies for our generous and talented home bakers.

Two groups of neighbors, on Carroll Street and on Garfield Place, organized pantry drives during their recent respective block parties. They brought us 4 boxes and 2 wagon-fulls loaded with fantastic goodies!

Extra Special Thanks To

The employees of the new Ample Hills Ice Cream, who have amply (!) shared our efforts with the new owners, who in turn matched donations that went directly to our organization. Likewise, big thanks for the donation of a giant chest freezer, which we urgently needed!

The Carroll Street Block Association for including us in their giving plans.

The Brooklyn Blade Youth Hockey Club, for their very generous check to support both BRK and Camp Friendship.

In perpetuity – thanks to our wonderful and dedicated volunteers!

**If you would like to organize a small food drive or event like the above, or have questions about how to use your EBT card, please message us at info@brooklynreliefkitchen.org

As always, we ask that you share our GoFundMe page, like us on the Facebook and Instagram, and help spread the word to Keep Brooklyn Fed.

The Caribbean Women’s Health Association

Starting Friday October 23 – The Kitchen will be providing hot meals and produce/pantry boxes for The Caribbean Women’s Health Association (cwha.org).  CWHA is a social service organization dedicated to providing high quality, comprehensive, culturally appropriate health, immigration and social support services to its diverse constituency.  “Transforming Lives, Strengthening Families and Empowering Communities.”  

As a result we are now accepting/requesting donations for baby formula, baby food, and baby supplies at our daily food drive tent.

Transforming Lives, Strengthening Families and Empowering Communities.

BRK in the news

Brooklyn Relief Kitchen featured in brooklynpaper.com in an article by Ben Verde.

“A Park Slope-based food bank is seeing no dip in demand as the pandemic drags on, and is plotting ways to continue their effort to keep Brooklynites fed in a post-COVID world. 

The Brooklyn Relief Kitchen, a volunteer-led organization that launched in June to help supply a local soup kitchen with hot meals, is still cooking up hundreds of meals a week, and demand has only continued to grow… ”

Read more HERE.

Donations from Brooklyn Grange

Great Heights! Today we had our first abundant and lush donation from Brooklyn Grange. Not only are they the leaders in rooftop farming in the US, they operate the WORLD’s largest rooftop soil farms, located on three roofs in New York City, and grow over 100,000 lbs of organically-cultivated produce per year.

They are fiercely dedicated to community and giving back, educational programming and events, in addition to growing and distributing fresh vegetables at their own rooftop farms and various markets around the city. If you don’t know about them yet, be sure to follow and visit their site, and do some socially distant shopping at their rooftop markets on the weekend.

We are so very grateful for the plentiful bounty of arugula, herbs, heirloom carrots and radishes. We were able to add veggies to over 100 produce packages to @stmarksumcbklyn. Arugula is washed and ready to be made into vats of pesto. So thankful! 🥕🥬🥗.

Update and Work Day Changes:Tuesday to Saturday

Hello Friends of The Kitchen,

First and foremost, as of writing this update, we have just reached our first fundraising goal of $35,000. We are humbled and full of thanks!

August at The Kitchen was our busiest yet. More thanks to your incredibly generous donations, we had the resources to fill a big need in the local Brooklyn community. While our frontline partner organization Chips was closed for repairs and respite, our dedicated volunteers set up in front of the building Monday to Friday to distribute over 800 meals a week, including lots of well received servings of watermelon! During the last week we had a visit from our local champion and council member Brad Lander. Thank you!

Numerous local businesses and individuals also donated supplemental meals and resources. We are particularly thankful to the Park Slope Fifth Avenue BID (@TheOther5th) for helping to spread the word about our work. We received an anonymous donation to our Gofundme last week for $10,000, leaving us beyond thrilled and thankful that we can put those funds towards thousands of meals.

Work Day Changes: Tuesday to Saturday

Brooklyn Relief Kitchen is providing more and more meals and produce/pantry boxes to our frontline partners. New Yorkers continue to face long stretches of unemployment, food insecurity and our most vulnerable seniors and populations continue to practice social distance/safety by staying away from public places and food shopping.
To better meet the needs of our partners The Kitchen will now operate Tuesdays to Saturdays 10am to 2pm.

BRK Food Drive outside Old First Church @ 729 Carroll St.
Every Tuesday – Saturday 10am – 2pm

Our food drive drive outside of Old First Church will also change its schedule. Tuesday thru Saturday 10am – 2pm.

Chip’s will serve our hot meals:
Tuesdays thru Saturdays 11:30am to 1pm
200 4th Ave. @Sackett St. Brooklyn

Camp Friendship will serve our hot meals:
Saturdays 10am to 2pm
Park Slope United Methodist Church
410 6th Ave. @ 8th Street Brooklyn.

September is Hunger Awareness Action Month

As thousands of New Yorker’s are facing hunger, some for the first time as a result of the pandemic, we continue preparation and delivery of more than 1800 meals and pantry boxes a week to a growing number of clients at St. Marks United Methodist Church, Camp Friendship, Worker’s Justice Project and Heights and Hills Senior Services. Later in the month we will announce our collaboration with some new frontline partners. As we and everyone else seems to roll with the punches in these most uncertain times, we are dedicated to our vision of preparing fresh, warm, nutritious meals. Keeping Brooklyn Strong, By Keeping Brooklyn Fed.

All the Ways to Donate:
–Employer Match:
One of our super volunteers anonymously donated $700 to The Kitchen, only to be matched by their employer, Apple! Big thx.

–In Person:
Tuesday through Saturday 10-2pm we are outside at Old First Church 7th Avenue and Carroll St. collecting monetary donations and pantry items!

–Pay it Forward EBT Card:
In the coming weeks every public school student will receive an EBT card valued at $420. If you are fortunate enough, part or all of the value of this card can be donated via the GoFundMe campaign. Many have already started to do this, we thank you so much. *Be sure to mention when donating.
https://www.gofundme.com/f/help-the-brooklyn-relief-kitchen

–Time/Volunteer:
As our fabulous high school and college student volunteers start heading back to school (in one form or another), we have a few openings for kitchen prep and packing volunteers. Please contact us at
info @ brooklynreliefkitchen.org for details.

Small Biz Thanks and Support Your Local:
–Shout out to Dontis Produce, who Andy and Piper have been working with for over 35 years, for supplying The Kitchen with donated and discounted produce.
Family Owned + Operated Wholesale Produce Company Since 1962 Now Delivering Veggie & Fruit Boxes to Local Residence Reserve Today: www.dontisproduce.com
@dontis_produce

Dujour Bakery – Donated delicious baked goods and breakfast.
365 5th Ave
L’Arte Della Pizza – Yummy donations.
172 5th Ave
Hiller and Moon – Weekly bread donations, hand delivered!
814 Union

Please continue to follow us on Instagram @BkReliefKitchen, Facebook /BrooklynReliefKitchen and help us to spread the word.

Be safe and healthy.

Brad Lander Visit

Council member Brad Lander came by and pitched in during our last week at Chips. We thank him for his support and for always showing up. Big Thanks also to our wonderful volunteers and Brother Tom.

Brooklyn Relief Kitchen Feeds Those Hit Hardest By COVID-19

Thanks to Bklyner and author RACHEL LINDY BARON for telling our story so well!

“Andy Wandzilak can’t not feed people.

Former co-owner of Two Boots Park Slope with his wife, Piper, as well as a caterer at Kings Theatre, Wandzilak had launched the volunteer-led Hurricane Sandy Relief Kitchen back in 2012 when the storm devastated large swathes of the city. Armed with dozens of volunteers and an outpouring of donor support, the team was able to serve over 200,000 meals to those affected by the disaster. Now, eight years later, Wandzilak saw that the city needed them again.”

read more https://bklyner.com/brooklyn-relief-kitchen-feeds-those-hit-hardest-by-covid-19/

CNN reports on COPO

Mo Razvi and the incredible work of COPO, a wonderful organization feeding thousands of New Yorkers every week (and one of our major suppliers), is featured in this important CNN piece about food insecurity and relief efforts in Brooklyn. Cameo by our very own Andrew Wandzilak and his green hat!

Fundraising Goal Increased.

Thank you all so much for your online contributions. You have helped us to prepare and serve another 2000 tasty meals this week. Our in person donation tent also saw an uptick in giving, as our visibility, and need grows. We increased our fundraising goal to $35K. This money is crucial in subsidizing our back line food donations. We appreciate your continued interest and hope you will share this post/and fund. Some delicious meals this week included: Chicken tikka masala, Vegetarian chili, Intensely good mac and cheese, Bratwurst and braised cabbage. We even distributed fresh vegetables to our front line partners at St. Marks UM Church in Flatbush. Again, thank you.