Goya donates 10,000 pounds of food to East Harlem community pantry

Lines stretched down the block as the Catholic Charities food pantry, which serves hundreds of people each week, opened its doors.

Edric Robinson

Jun 5, 2024, 11:09 PM

Updated 39 days ago

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A special delivery arrived just in time for St. Cecilia’s regular Wednesday food pantry hours.
“During this Puerto Rican week, we’re making a donation of 10,000 pounds of food here at St. Cecilia’s Church in the heart of El Barrio,” said Rafael Toro, the national director for public relations at Goya Foods.
Lines stretched down the block as the Catholic Charities food pantry, which serves hundreds of people each week, opened its doors. After a quick blessing by the priest, the giving began. Luis DeJesus, an East Harlem resident, expressed his gratitude to volunteers.
DeJesus, a regular at the pantry, said the support is something he and his family heavily rely on these days. “I lost my dad a couple of years ago. He was basically taking care of my mom, but now that my dad is gone, I’m staying with my mom, helping her out any way I can,” he shared.
For DeJesus, essential items like rice, beans, and vegetables make a significant difference.
“Prices on items are sky-high. My mother uses the vegetables a lot to make her seasonings. The milk is important,” he added.
According to NYU Furman Center data, the median household income in East Harlem in 2022 was $36,930, which is about 52% less than the citywide median household income of $77,550. The poverty rate was 38.2% in 2022, compared to 18.3% citywide. Organizers see this reality firsthand.
“We work with Goya in mobilizing all of the distribution in these communities, and we found very surprisingly the amount of people, the amount of families, is incredible,” said Nancy Rosado Santiago, founder and CEO of HLX+.
DeJesus summed up the impact, saying, "My mom is going to be very, very pleased. I'm all set."
The National Puerto Rican Day Parade is on June 9.


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