Written by Betsy Abraham Thursday, 03 October 2013 00:00
According to the 2010 Census Bureau statistics, 17.5 percent of the New Cassel community lives below the poverty line. Reverend Duval Denis, pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church, sees that statistic come to life every day at his church located on Prospect Avenue.
“There’s a lot of need in the New Cassel community,” Denis says.
Some of that need will be alleviated with the opening of a new food pantry at Ebenezer Baptist Church, this past weekend. The pantry was opened by ESPOIR International, a nonprofit organization that focuses on educational services for children and giving back to the community.
ESPOIR was founded in May 2012, by Westbury resident Dr. Samarth Joseph. She says she often visits churches in New Cassel and hears stories from people having a hard time feeding their families.
“People in the community are in high need. I meet a lot of people who are struggling to feed their family,” Joseph says. “This food pantry will be open to feed those in need of food, and reduce the percentage of those who are hungry.”
The food pantry will provide both perishable and nonperishable food items that come from private donations, as well as other food donation organizations. It will be staffed by volunteers from Ebenezer Baptist Church and ESPOIR.
Not only will the food pantry provide for the community’s physical needs, but it will help their mental and emotional ones as well. Licensed counselors will be available at the site to help people of all ages, including children with special disabilities.
“We decided to open this because we want to help minimize the hunger problem,” Joseph said. “In America, we have more food than anyone else, but some of us are still going to bed hungry. We want to address this issue before it gets worse.”
The food pantry is located at 859 Prospect Avenue and will be open to the public every Friday from 10 a.m. to noon.