NYPD officers and youth volunteers worked together to distribute food to a Harlem community hit hard financially by the COVID-19 pandemic.
NYPD officers from the department’s Transit District 1 met up with the Church of Ascension’s youth group the Spirit Squad in front of their church to distribute bags of food to the community in need.
The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the Harlem community and is the worst disaster the city has faced since 9/11. According to an AMNY report, breadlines have spread throughout the district.
To help put food on peoples’ tables, NYPD and the Spirit Squad packed and loaded bags filled with fruits, vegetables and canned goods onto carts in front of the church to give to residents. Volunteers and officers also loaded bags of food into police vans to deliver the food to the doorsteps of elderly and disabled individuals who are struggling to stay stocked.
“The police department is always looking for ways to connect to our community, and here we have an opportunity to not only connect with our community but to connect to the youth here,” Captain Kenneth Gorman said.
When the program began before the pandemic, the church regularly fed around 70 people. Since the pandemic, the number of hungry residents has increased to around 400.
Captain Gorman presented religious education director Robin Klueber with a challenge coin to honor her work in guiding the volunteers to serve their community.
After the food was distributed, the officers and youth group members faced off in a friendly game of basketball. Captain Gorman showed off his dribbling skills in the church’s gym against Spirit Squad members while others watched the game with ice pops.
The pandemic has caused the worst economic recession since the 1930’s Great Depression, with skyrocketing unemployment rates in virtually every state across the country.