Luiz Bermudez came into a room in the Mosholu Montefiore Community Center (MMCC) at 3450 Dekalb Ave. on July 29 and picked up three meals — one for her, one for her grandson and one for her nephew, who were tagging along.
“The people from the neighborhood went to the park and told us they’re having lunch for the kids and to come in, so we came in,” she said.
Those free meals weren’t just for the kids. They came from Everybody Eats, an event organized by Art of Men. Art Gurwitz, who founded the group to connect men with volunteer opportunities, said the reason for Everybody Eats was simple.
“Well, unfortunately, everybody doesn’t eat,” he explained.
There are a lot of hungry people in New York City. According to the New York City Coalition Against Hunger, 1.4 million people in the city are food insecure, meaning they do not have reliable access to nutritious, affordable food. In the Bronx, one in three children live in homes where they often go hungry — the highest rate in the city.
So Art of Men teamed up with upscale catering company Michael Scott — the owner happens to be a family friend of Mr. Gurwitz — to make 3,500 professionally-cooked, healthy meals to serve in five locations, one in each borough. MMCC represented the Bronx.
“They just disappeared everywhere, which sort of goes to show you the need,” Mr. Gurwitz said of the free meals.
Sarah Scully, a television producer from Queens, took the day off to help distribute 400 meals at MMCC. She got involved with Art for Men through her boyfriend, adding that being a woman did not preclude her from participating.
“We started with the seniors, then the moms with kids from day care,” she listed. “It’s been a great day.”
Ms. Scully said volunteers started passing out meals around 12:30 p.m. By 2:30 p.m., they were almost out.
“We’re not surprised. There are a lot of really hungry people in New York City,” she said. “It’s a huge wake-up call.”
Julian Salazar, the director of operations for Michael Scott, came to MMCC to make sure everything went smoothly.