Brown Bag Program
He took the seven loaves, and after giving thanks he broke them and gave them to his disciples to distribute; and they distributed them to the crowd. Mark 8:6
The Brown Bag program provides a meal to anyone who asks. We operate 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year. We serve Grab & Go lunches at the sidewalk in front of the church door from 9:30 to 10:30 each Monday through Friday.
The program has been running for forty years. We started in 1983, when parishioners decided to offer meals each day. We’ve grown through the years. Now we typically hand out over 250 meals each week.
The meals always include a main dish, fresh fruits, and juice, and sometimes yogurt, apple sauce, and baked goods. Our guests always get a choice of main dish. Favorites include high-protein fish like canned mackerel, tuna, salmon, or sardines, as well as chicken and rice, chunked chicken, and ravioli.
Our guests include people who are living on the streets, the elderly who are living on tight fixed incomes, as well as people working in low wage jobs.
The Brown Bag Program’s guests, old and new, have been so grateful that the Brown Bag program has continued to offer meals across the uncertainty of the past few years. While so many food programs were forced to close or scale back, we have continued. For a few weeks early in the Covid Emergency, we were the only program operating in the neighborhood. As one long time guest said, “You have no idea what it means to people, that you are here every day, when life gets rough.”
Members of the parish support the program by showing up to hand out bags, by packing lunches or wrapping spoons, and by making donations to the program. The Brown Bag committee currently includes six parishioners who volunteer to oversee the program.
In addition to our volunteers, we have a single paid employee who is there every day. He keeps track of our guests. He remembers guests' faces and names and their preferences for sardines, lasagna, or chunked chicken. He also notices if someone needs something extra, like a toothbrush, a clean pair of socks, a pair of reading glasses, or a warm hat.
If you know of anyone who needs a meal, a smile, or a pair of gloves, I hope you will send them to us. We require no documents. All are welcome.
For more information regarding volunteer opportunities, contact the Brown Bag Program at at 212-787-2755 ext. 5 or email [email protected].