Nourishing Our Community
A portion of the Nov 20, 2020 donation to Chance For Children
Published February 05, 2024⏱️
14 min read
Nourishing Our Community is PPUABA's initiative to help address food insecurity in our community through the collaboration of PPUABA members to support a local food pantry ("Chance For Children") and a local soup kitchen ("CHIPS"). Nourishing Our Community started in October, 2020.
Nov 2023 Warm Winter Clothing Drive
Our clothing drive concluded with remarkable results: due to the exceptional generosity of our neighbors, our winter clothing drive for guests of CHIPS' soup kitchen not only reached our stretch fundraising goal, we far exceeded it! We had hoped to raise $4,300 to enable us to buy a fleece-lined sweatshirt for each of the 400 people who visit CHIPS' soup kitchen each day. We ended up raising $6,945 (more than double the amount raised in last year's winter clothing drive)!
After consulting with the staff at CHIPS, we used some of the extra money to upgrade from crewneck sweatshirts to warmer (but more expensive) hooded fleece sweatshirts; we used some of the remaining money to buy warm fleece gloves for each of CHIPS' soup kitchen guests; and the remainder was donated to CHIPS in cash.
Many thanks to all who participated in this year's winter clothing drive. Your generosity will bring some warmth this winter, and the knowledge that they are not forgotten, to people who will greatly appreciate it. Scroll down to see a photo of the distribution of gloves to CHIPS guests on Thanksgiving Day, and photos of the distribution of sweatshirts on the Friday before Christmas. Our block association's donation got a special mention in CHIPS' December 2023 newsletter, and again in CHIPS' January 2024 newsletter!
As of Aug 2023, CHIPS is serving DOUBLE the meals each day that it did one year ago
The steadily increasing population in homeless shelters and the influx of asylum seekers into NYC has put enormous demands on the resources of organizations that address homelessness and food insecurity. Nourishing Our Community strongly encourages block association members to contribute financially if you can, or volunteer time to help make deliveries of fresh food to support CHIPS and Chance For Children.
Nov 2022 Warm Winter Clothing Drive
In our 2022 Thanksgiving warm winter clothing drive for CHIPS, we raised over $3,100, enabling us to purchase and donate enough clothing so that each of the more than 200 guests of CHIPS’ meal program could receive a fleece-lined wool-content knit cap, a pair of fleece-lined gloves; a fleece scarf; a 3-pack of boxer shorts, and a thermal underwear top. These items were distributed to CHIPS' guests at CHIPS' special Thanksgiving lunch service on Wednesday, Nov 23rd. Scroll down to see photos. Also, our block association got a special mention in CHIPS' December newsletter.
On Monday, Sep 12, 2022, Nourishing Our Community volunteers made our 100th!!! delivery.
Since we started Nourishing Our Community in Oct 2020, NOC participants have generously contributed nearly $26,000 and many hundreds of volunteer hours - which allow us to purchase and deliver fresh fruit and produce, warm winter clothing and other essentials to a nearby food pantry (Chance for Children) and soup kitchen (CHIPS). We are very grateful for our participants' support, and encourage PPUABA members and other members of the community to join us!
We currently make 5 food deliveries each month. Twice each month, we purchase and donate fresh produce to Chance For Children, a food pantry in Crown Heights which provides groceries to approximately 200 families each week. We also purchase and donate fresh fruit twice monthly to CHIPS, an organization on the Park Slope / Gowanus border which addresses food insecurity and homelessness and operates a soup kitchen. CHIPS adds the fruit we donate to the ready-to-eat meals they provide to over 400 guests each day. Once a month, we pick up excess canned and packaged food donations from CHIPS and transfer those items to Chance For Children.
Additionally, just before Thanksgiving each year, Nourishing Our Community runs a special fund-raising campaign to enable purchase and donation of warm winter clothing for the clients of CHIPS' meal program, most of whom are experiencing homelessness. In Nov 2020, we purchased and donated 50 warm, hooded fleece sweatshirts. In Nov 2021, we purchased and donated 168 warm fleece-lined knit hats, 168 pairs of fleece gloves, and 168 fleece scarves. In Nov 2022, we purchased and donated 240 fleece knit hats, 240 pairs of fleece gloves, 240 fleece scarves; 240 3-packs of boxer shorts, and 288 thermal underwear tops. And most recently, in Nov 2023, we purchased and donated 400 hooded fleece-lined sweatshirts and 432 pairs of fleece gloves. See photos below.
How does Nourishing Our Community work?
PPUABA members work together to support local food pantries. Participants make monthly recurring, one-time, or occasional financial contributions, or help with pickup and delivery of food, or both. Through the generosity of the owners of Foodtown on Vanderbilt Avenue, we are able to purchase cases of fresh fruit and produce at Foodtown’s wholesale cost with no markup. We are VERY grateful for Foodtown’s support!!!
- Contributors make a monetary contribution to help fund our food purchases. There is no minimum or maximum amount - each contributor decides how much they wish to contribute. Recurring monthly contributions help sustain the program but we greatly appreciate contributions on a one-time or occasional basis too! If you are able to pledge a monthly recurring contribution, please notify Marc Gordon at email@example.com. Please see How to contribute... below.
- Shopper / Deliverers participate in one or more of our 5 monthly shopping / food pantry delivery trips. Shopper / deliverers sign up on a monthly roster for whichever date(s) they are available. Usually 2 people participate in each pickup and delivery – we need both a driver and a passenger / helper. Pickups and deliveries are usually on Monday or Friday mornings at about 9:30am and take about an hour.
- Group coordinators solicit needs from the food pantries; set up the group’s schedule (for contributions, and for shopping / delivery trips); place orders at Foodtown in advance of each scheduled pickup; track contributions and donations; and report on activities at the monthly PPUABA meeting.
How to contribute to Nourishing Our Community
You can make contributions by Venmo to @PPUABA-Treasurer. Please include a notation on your payment with your name and the words "Nourishing Our Community". (If Venmo asks for the last 4 digits of the phone number associated with that account, they are "7818"). You can also contribute by cash or check (payable to “Park Place – Underhill Avenue Block Association”) put into an envelope with a note including your name and the words “Nourishing Our Community” and dropped over the gate beneath the stoop at 319 Park Place.
How to participate as a shopper / deliverer
We need drivers with cars as well as passengers / helpers to help with the 5 pickups & deliveries we currently make each month. The group coordinator sends out a schedule each month, and volunteers sign up for the date(s) they can participate. To be added to the list of shopper / deliverers, please send an email to either Marc Gordon at firstname.lastname@example.org or to Jill Frasier at email@example.com. Please indicate whether or not you have a car.
About food insecurity in NYC
Food insecurity is a problem of alarming proportions in NYC, where it is estimated that over 1.5 million New Yorkers, including 1 in every 4 children, experience food insecurity. PPUABA’s Nourishing Our Community initiative aims to combat food insecurity AND to foster neighborly relationships by getting neighbors in our block association to work together supporting a local food pantry and soup kitchen.
Photos of some of our activities
Below are some additional photos of Nourishing Our Community activities.
Feb 05, 2024 delivery of 6 cases of fresh fruit and 3 25lb bags of organic brown rice to CHIPS. In addition to the bananas and oranges purchased from Foodtown at wholesale cost by NOC volunteers Jill Frasier and Robin Ketchum (not pictured), Foodtown donated the rice. Foodtown manager Ehab Jawad personally helped load the rice into Robin's car.
Dec 22, 2023 CHIPS' distribution of warm, fleece-lined hooded sweatshirts that were donated by our block association. In the first photo below, PPUABA's Marc Gordon is shown with CHIPS' Executive Director Peter Endriss - behind them are boxes full of sweatshirts being distributed. In the second photo below, an appreciative guest of CHIPS' soup kitchen shows his new sweatshirt.
Dec 04, 2023 donation of fresh fruit to CHIPS. NOC volunteers Tammy Pittman and Heidi Rodewald are shown with CHIPS staff member James, who was happy to accept a donation of 6 cases of bananas.
Nov 27, 2023 donation of fresh fruit to CHIPS. NOC volunteers Tammy Pittman and Elizabeth Welch picked up and delivered 6 cases of bananas to be added to the ready-to-go meals that CHIPS prepares for upwards of 400 people each day.
Nov 23, 2023 distribution of winter clothing (fleece gloves) to guests of CHIPS soup kitchen.
Sep 22, 2023 donation of fresh produce to Chance For Children food pantry. NOC volunteers Den Gordon and Tammy Pittman (pictured here with CFC staff members) delivered 9 cases of green cabbage, broccoli crowns and McIntosh apples to Chance For Children. Tammy is among our newest Nourishing Our Community volunteers, and this was her maiden pickup and delivery run. Thank you Tammy!
Sep 08, 2023 donation of fresh produce to Chance For Children food pantry. NOC volunteers Patti Veconi and Jill Frasier delivered 12 cases of fresh spinach, plum tomatoes and zucchini to Chance For Children. Additionally, they delivered approximately 125 Fresh Direct bags, which the pantry uses to make up grocery packages, and 15 cases of diapers for clients of the food pantry who have newborns. The Fresh Direct bags and diapers were collected by NOC volunteer Marc Gordon from residents of Prospect Heights and surrounding neighborhoods.
Jun 02, 2023 donation of fresh produce to Chance For Children food pantry. NOC volunteers Jill Frasier (pictured) and Robin Ketchum delivered 4 cases of green cabbage, 3 cases of green peppers and 2 cases of bananas to Chance For Children. The produce is added to pantry bags which are distributed to approximately 200 families each week.
Jan 27, 2023 transfer of groceries from CHIPS to Chance For Children. CHIPS is primarily a soup kitchen, providing ready-to-eat meals to their clients, rather than a food pantry providing groceries. They often receive more donations of canned and packaged food than they can use, so once each month, NOC volunteers pick up these excess donated items and transport them to Chance For Children, where they are distributed to as many as 200 food-insecure families who come for groceries each week. Pictured here, NOC volunteer Jill Frasier with a CHIPS staff member and 2 carts full of groceries to be transported to Chance For Children (not pictured: NOC volunteer Robin Ketchum).
Nov 15, 2022 delivery of warm winter clothing to CHIPS - NOC volunteer Marc Gordon delivered 17 cases of of gloves, hats, scarves, and boxer shorts... with 4 more cases of thermal underwear tops still to come. Marc is pictured here with Pauline Auguste, CHIPS Director of Food Services, who was very happy to accept the donation on behalf of CHIPS' guests. Below, photos of the distribution of the clothing to CHIPS clients on the day before Thanksgiving, Nov 23, 2022.
Oct 24, 2022 delivery to CHIPS - NOC volunteers Heidi Rodewald (pictured) and Patti Veconi delivered 4 cases of bananas and oranges to CHIPS.
Sep 12, 2022 delivery to CHIPS - Our 100th delivery!!!
NOC volunteer Mary Dale pictured with 2 cases each of apples and bananas which she and fellow shopper/deliverer Patti Veconi (not pictured) delivered to CHIPS.
Aug 12, 2022 delivery to Chance For Children - NOC volunteer Marc Gordon (center) pictured with 2 Chance For Children staff members (not in picture, NOC volunteer Den Gordon). Marc and Den delivered 12 cases of fresh summer produce (corn, green squash and yellow squash) along with nearly 400 reusable Fresh Direct bags they had collected from residents of Prospect Heights.
June 17, 2022 delivery to Chance For Children - NOC volunteers Jill Frasier (pictured) and Den Gordon delivered 10 cases of carrots, onions and plum tomatoes to Chance For Children food pantry.
May 13, 2022 delivery to Chance For Children - On May 6th, Sister Burley, the director of Chance For Children, notified PPUABA Co-President Marc Gordon of a need for diapers, as several regular clients of the food pantry had newborns and were struggling to meet the additional expenses. Marc put out the call on several Prospect Heights Facebook groups as well as to the PPUABA membership. Pictured below, 21 cases of diapers and 3 Fresh Direct bags full of Fresh Direct bags which Marc collected and, together with Den Gordon, delivered to Chance For Children on May 13th.
April 29, 2022 delivery to Chance For Children - Once each month, PPUABA volunteers pick up excess donated canned and packaged food from CHIPS and transport it to Chance For Children's food pantry. In the first photo below, a CHIPS volunteer and PPUABA member Patti Veconi move one of several cartfuls of food to a waiting car; the second photo shows the car fully loaded; the delivery destination is Chance For Children's food pantry, where it will be distributed to approximately 200 families served each week. (Not pictured, PPUABA member Robin Ketchum, who took these photographs).
April 22, 2022 delivery to Chance For Children - PPUABA volunteers Mary Dale and Gerry Caroll delivered 10 cases of carrots, oranges and butternut squash purchased at wholesale from Foodtown, along with approximately 300 Fresh Direct bags collected by Marc Gordon from Prospect Heights residents.
April 04, 2022 delivery to CHIPS - PPUABA volunteer Patti Veconi with 2 cases each of bananas and oranges picked up at Foodtown and ready to be delivered to CHIPS to be added to the ready-to-go meals that CHIPS provides to upwards of 150 people 6 days per week. (Not pictured, PPUABA volunteer Den Gordon).
March 25, 2022 delivery to Chance For Children - A very full carload of canned and packaged food was picked up at CHIPS and delivered to Chance For Children by PPUABA co-president Robin Ketchum and NOC coordinator Jill Frasier.
March 21, 2022 delivery to CHIPS - PPUABA volunteer Phyllis Brody with 4 cases of fresh fruit delivered to CHIPS to be added to the ready-to-go meals that CHIPS provides to upwards of 150 people 6 days per week. (Not pictured, PPUABA volunteer Den Gordon).
February 4, 2022 delivery to Chance For Children - PPUABA shopper / deliverer Stacey Weinstein and a member of CFC's staff with part of today's produce donation to the food pantry. (not pictured, PPUABA shopper / deliverer Patti Veconi).
January 21, 2022 delivery to Chance For Children - PPUABA shopper / deliverer Mary Dale and CFC staff member "Coach" Johnson with a carload of fresh produce we purchased and delivered to the food pantry. (not pictured, PPUABA shopper / deliverer Patti Veconi).
November 22, 2021 delivery to CHIPS - After a very successful annual appeal to raise money to fund purchases of warm clothing for clients of CHIPS' meal program, we purchased and donated 168 fleece-lined knit caps AND 168 pairs of fleece gloves AND 168 fleece scarves.
November 08, 2021 delivery to CHIPS - a CHIPS staff member receives the 3 cases of McIntosh apples we donated to be added to the ready-to-go lunch bags CHIPS provides to their clients. Not in photo: PPUABA shopper / deliverers Robin Ketchum and Phyllis Brody.
October 08, 2021 delivery to Chance For Children food pantry - we purchased and delivered 11 cases of bananas, carrots, green peppers and zucchini, along with approximately 100 Fresh Direct bags donated by Prospect Heights neighbors. PPUABA shopper/deliverer Stacey Weinstein is pictured on the right with CFC volunteer Coach Johnson on the left. Not in photo: PPUABA shopper / deliverer and NOC coordinator Jill Frasier.
September 27, 2021 delivery to CHIPS - we purchased and delivered 3 cases of McIntosh apples which will be added to the ready-to-go lunch bags given to CHIPS' clients. PPUABA Co-President Robin Ketchum is pictured on the right, with a CHIPS volunteer on the left. Not in photo: PPUABA NOC coordinator Jill Frasier who assisted with the pickup and delivery.
September 17, 2021 delivery to Chance For Children food pantry - we purchased and delivered 3 cases each of apples, bananas, tomatoes and zucchini. PPUABA Co-President Robin Ketchum is pictured on the left with a CFC volunteer on the right. Not in photo: PPUABA shopper / deliverer Phyllis Brody.
August 06, 2021 delivery to Chance For Children food pantry - we purchased and delivered 6 cases of corn on the cob, 3 cases of tomatoes, and 3 cases of green peppers. The produce is pictured with two CFC volunteers who gratefully received our delivery.
July 09, 2021 delivery to Chance For Children food pantry - we purchased and delivered 6 cases of fresh corn, 2 cases of tomatoes and 3 cases of green peppers. Pictured is NOC coordinator Jill Frasier and CFC volunteer Mike; not pictured is PPUABA co-president and shopper / deliverer Robin Ketchum.
June 11, 2021 delivery to Chance For Children food pantry - we purchased and delivered 6 cases of Ensure, 100 pounds of onions, 144 pounds of carrots, 2 cases of oranges, 6 cases of spinach, along with 186 reusable Fresh Direct bags collected from Prospect Heights residents. Pictured is NOC coordinator Jill Frasier and CFC volunteer Mike; not pictured is PPUABA co-president and shopper / deliverer Marc Gordon.
May 21, 2021 delivery to Chance For Children food pantry - we purchased and delivered 16 cases of fresh fruit and vegetables, 12 cases of Ensure nutritional supplement, and approximately 110 large Fresh Direct shopping bags collected from Prospect Heights residents and useful to food pantry patrons. Pictured is PPUABA shopper Phyllis Brody; not pictured is PPUABA shopper Den Gordon.
April 23, 2021 delivery to Chance For Children food pantry - this photo shows some of the 13 cases of fruit and vegetables purchased and delivered. Pictured is PPUABA shopper / deliverer Marc Gordon; not pictured is Den Gordon.
March 26, 2021 delivery to Chance For Children food pantry - this photo shows just some of the 14 cases of fresh fruit and vegetables we purchased and donated, along with 93 Fresh Direct shopping bags collected from Prospect Heights residents and useful to food pantry patrons. Pictured is PPUABA shopper / deliverer Mary Dale; not pictured is Den Gordon.
March 3, 2021 delivery to CHIPS - 4 cases of oranges to be added to ready-to-eat meals provided for their soup kitchen clients. Not pictured, shopper / deliverer Marc Gordon.
February 26th 2021 delivery to Chance For Children - 11 cases of fresh fruit and vegetables were purchased and donated. Pictured is Marcia Kresge, a CFC volunteer, who gratefully accepted our donation. Not pictured are PPUABA shopper / deliverers Robin Ketchum and Heidi Rodewald.
January 22nd 2021 delivery to Chance For Children - we purchased and donated 8 cases of fresh fruit and vegetables and 5 cases of Ensure (for CFC's clients who need nutritional supplements), with shopper / deliverer Heidi Rodewald (not pictured, shoppers Mary Dale and Phyllis Brody).
January 10th 2021 delivery to Chance For Children - CHIPS donated over 750 pounds of canned soup and fruit, which CHIPS could not use, to Chance For Children. NOC volunteers arranged the donation, picked up the food from CHIPS and delivered it to CFC.
January 8th 2021 donation to Chance For Children, with shoppers Den Gordon and Mary Dale (not pictured, Marc Gordon). In addition to items purchased by PPUABA's Nourishing Our Community group, this donation included 12 cases of packaged food which NOC volunteers picked up from CHIPS and delivered to CFC.
December 2020 donations to Chance For Children, with shoppers Robin Ketchum and Mary Dale (not pictured, December shoppers Phyllis Brody and Richard Roth).
Packages of food to be distributed by Chance For Children, lined up and ready for pickup by clients.
Chance For Children also delivers food packages to those who are homebound and cannot come to the food pantry. These packages are labeled with each client's name and customized to their specific dietary needs.
50 sweatshirts purchased by PPUABA members - delivered to CHIPS on Nov 30, 2020