They’re giving back.
Element9, a public innovation firm based in Industry City, has worked in partnership with GetFood NYC to provide food for the needy. The company, which is led by Tamecca Seril, has served more than 800,000 meals since May.
GetFood NYC, which is operated by the Dept. of Sanitation, delivers various types of meals: stable, fresh, hot, Kosher, Halal, and more.
Seril discussed how her company got involved with providing for those who require food during the pandemic.
“We bid on the shelf-stable boxes,” she said. “They equate to nine meals for a single adult. It contains three breakfasts, three lunches and three dinners. That’s what we were awarded back in May. We were given one of those emergency contracts which was for 90 days.”
She said that while they serve any adults in need with the GetFood NYC program, they have a special emphasis on serving the elderly population.
“It’s a great and awesome feeling to create jobs during this time, but also to alleviate any kind of food insecurity and hunger that is impacting New Yorkers, especially older adults,” she said. “Prior to doing this work, in Brooklyn we were responsible for creating the Second Aging Improvement District, so we were familiar with servicing older adults.”
Seril said the need for the elderly was especially important.
“When you are under a stay-at-home order, the population that is going to be impacted the most would most likely be older adults,” she said. “They likely won’t think of things like using an app.”
Agencies like Seril’s are in charge of creating high-quality meals at high volumes daily and weekly. Those who receive the boxes are given the raw ingredients to create a meal, including brown rice, chili, cereal, bagels, tuna, salmon and chicken.
“Some employees would say, ‘This box is so much better than what [my family member] is getting,” she said, “We put a lot of care into it. Given that we are a black-owned, woman-owned business, my heart was in it from a point of view like, ‘What would I want for my own family members?’ If I looked out to my neighbors. We put a lot of thought into it. We thought about who we might serve and what we want these boxes to look like.”
Seril said that Industry City has been the ideal space for the company to distribute food.
“They offered amenities,” she said. “Industry City had the space and things like freight elevators and loading docks. It doesn’t sound like the biggest deal, but when you’re moving a thousand pounds of food, you need that kind of unobstructed space, you need a secure location. It’s a true bona fide campus atmosphere.”