BSE Global, parent of the Nets and Barclays Center, working with the Downtown Brooklyn Neighborhood Alliance’s Thanksgiving food drive, donated and distributed 1,500 pre-made and individually packaged meals to families at five locations across Brooklyn on Wednesday afternoon.
The program distributed the meals at local churches in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, and Red Hook. It was the latest BSE effort to feed the hungry in the borough. Four times the pandemic struck the city in March, Barclays Center, has been used as a “pop-up” food pantry.
Non-profit agencies helping those food insecure worked with the arena setting up an assembly line for distribution of groceries, fresh produce, shelf-stable pantry items and personal protective equipment. Separately, the arena has worked with its concessionaire, Levy’s, to distribute tons of food.
It’s a nationwide issue, with New York hit particularly hard. In the eight months since the pandemic began, New Yorkers have made nearly 12 million visits to food pantries, a 36 percent jump compared with the same time last year, according to City Harvest, one of the largest emergency food distributors in New York.
According to the New York Times, an estimated 1.5 million New Yorkers cannot afford food and the increased demand on food banks around the city comes as hundreds of pantries have shut their doors — about one-third of pantries and soup kitchens in the city closed for a period of time, or closed and have not reopened.
In addition to BSE, Nets players led by Kyrie Irving have been working with groups like Food Bank and City Harvest since the beginning of the pandemic,
Last week, he personally delivered Thanksgiving meals in this two New York “home towns,” New Jersey and the South Bronx, distributing food, holiday meals and PPE at the Patrick School in Hillside and at the Mitchel Houses complex where he lived after he and his dad returned from Australia.