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Shutters Down at a Food Pantry

Tim Milk

The Church of the Nativity has for many years serviced the less fortunate with their basement food pantry at 44 Second Avenue. Last week bilingual signs were posted advising locals that due to state and federal budget cuts, “The Food Pantry will be closed until further notice.”

Contrasts abound in the East Village. On one hand we see a fashionable epicenter with its glittering night life. But on the other one finds a place haunted by desperation. As families struggle to make ends meet, as unemployment takes its toll, as food prices rise, it is all the more regrettable to see a neighborhood food pantry shut for lack of funds.

It puts a very personal, poignant perspective on the rather circus-like proceedings in Washington over the debt ceiling. One has to wonder just how many food pantries must be closed in order to narrow State and Federal deficits.

Let us know what you think about the closure.

St. Mark’s Food Pantry Reopens

St. Mark's Food PantryMeghan Keneally The food pantry has reopened.

St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery started its annual food pantry last week, providing much needed food options for homeless and hungry in the East Village.

While there are two existing soup kitchens that provide hot meal options throughout the week, St. Mark’s is the only food pantry that is open mid week, allowing visitors to bring home fresh produce and non perishables so their supplies last till the weekend.

“There just aren’t enough services in this area, and people slip through the cracks,” said the Rev. Winnie Varghese of St. Mark’s.

After a previous relationship with Trader Joe’s ended in late 2009 due to rising costs on the supermarket’s side, Ms. Varghese partnered up with GreenMarket last year and they agreed to donate any remaining produce from the farmer’s market that they hold in the church square on Tuesdays. The food pantry at St. Mark’s will run every Wednesday at 6 p.m. and they hope to continue it through the winter if funding allows.
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