One Brooklyn Health-Brookdale gives back to Brownsville at MLK-driven food drive

(L-R) Dr. Nanette Thomas, Congressmember Hakeem Jeffries and Dr. Sandra Scott smile with a sampling of the food One Brooklyn Health-Brookdale distributed to the surrounding Brownsville community on Jan. 14.
Photo by Caroline Ourso

One Brooklyn Health-Brookdale distributed 1,000 bags of produce and dried goods to the Brownsville community on Friday in a special Martin Luther King Day installment of their ongoing food giveaway program.

“We’re partnering with Greater New York Links and Food Bank NYC to distribute a total of 1,000 packages of both dried goods and produce to the community,” said Dr. Sandra Scott, executive director of OBH-Brookdale.

“We have one Links sister who works in the Food Bank, so we’ve been able to coordinate a lot of food distributions through her assistance,” said Dr. Nanette Thomas, a Links member for 19 years.

Links, an international Black women’s service organization, is “primarily based on service and friendship,” said Thomas, “and of course we’re always interested in helping when there are major issues, especially like the COVID outbreak.”

Since the onset of the pandemic, the doctors said, OBH-Brookdale has given out 15,000 bags to the community — and the healthcare organization has also given back to its employees.

“Particularly when things were bad in 2020,” said Scott. “We’ve been doing food distribution for the entire pandemic.”

Congressmember Jeffries, center, and his staff members help distribute food.Photo by Caroline Ourso

Both doctors feel the need for food giveaways such as theirs has been downplayed by the media.

“I feel like it’s very understated in the media how much people are struggling,” Scott told Brooklyn Paper. “Every time we’ve done this, people are extremely grateful, and they need the food.”

Area Congressmember Hakeem Jeffries and several of his staff members joined the event to help volunteers in doling out the bags of food, some of which were also delivered to assisted living homes. Another portion of the distribution occurred at four different community churches.

“There are not a lot of supermarkets in this neighborhood, really only bodegas,” said Thomas, “so it’s an opportunity for families to get some fresh vegetables.”

A One Brooklyn Health-Brookdale employee pitches in.Photo by Caroline Ourso

Many who came to Friday’s donation event were hospital patients who heard about it via word of mouth.

“Given our attention to more of the politics and the science around the pandemic, I don’t think [these kinds of giveaways are] really being highlighted so much,” Scott said, adding that she sees a need for them, still.

“We see that the people who show up really need the food. Regardless of the weather, people show up.”