Transformed nonprofit’s services in response to pandemic
Since the beginning of March 2020, when the idea of a lockdown was somewhat in the air, senior staffers from Masbia, a kosher soup kitchen network headquartered in Flatbush, started planning food contingencies to be able to be open during this looming emergency.
Sixteen months and 20 million pounds of food later, Chef Ruben Diaz hasn’t taken a day off in order to make sure that no one goes to sleep hungry in New York City.
While a pandemic is a health emergency, more New Yorkers were adversely impacted by the economic effect and are still recovering. As the pandemic turned into a recession, and so many people needed basic food help, Diaz transitioned Masbia’s services into an outdoor, ready-to-go, 24-hour operation.
He also transitioned the extraordinarily long bread lines into a digital appointment system that operates in seven languages. On average, he and his team at Masbia distributed more than a million pounds of food each month to hungry New Yorkers.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Masbia Soup Kitchen Network has mobilized to respond to the emergency food needs of NYC. Masbia is continuing to respond to a 500 percent increase in demand.
Each day, close to 500 families visit Masbia every day at each of the three locations. That means about 1,500 families a day and 7,500 every week get food relief from Masbia.
Now that New York is in the recovery phase, celebrating the fact that Chef Ruben Diaz and his team at Masbia touched so many people’s lives, an invitation to march in the Hometown Heroes Parade in recognition of their roles as essential workers is a welcome honor that he and his team are happy to take part in.