Park Slope nonprofit CHiPS launches new pantry van ahead of holidays

CHiPS launches new Mobile Food Van ahead of the holidays.
Park Slope soup kitchen and food pantry CHiPS launches new mobile service ahead of the holidays to help feed hungry Brooklynites.
Photo courtesy of CHiPS

It’s giving…season.

Community Help in Park Slope is going the extra mile this holiday season for hungry Brooklynites with a new mobile food pantry.

The nonprofit better known as CHiPS launched more than 50 years ago, helping homeless and food insecure people in the community through its full-service soup kitchen and food pantry. The organization, open six days a week, also offers temporary housing to expectant single mothers.

In the shadow of the city’s ongoing migrant crisis, CHiPS is serving up more hot meals than ever. Organizers say the kitchen is currently dishing out upwards of 400 servings a day at their Fourth Avenue location — more than twice that was served up daily last year — due in large part to the thousands of immigrants being bussed into the Big Apple.

In order to meet the demand for hot meals and produce, CHiPS has established a mobile pantry service with two stops in Brooklyn to distribute food.

CHiPS launches new Mobile Food Van ahead of the holidays.
A look inside CHiPS’ new mobile food van.Photo courtesy of CHiPS

“The intention was to kind of access more folks that are a little bit outside of walking distance to CHiPS, and distribute pantry bags remotely,” CHiPS Executive Director Peter Endriss told Brooklyn Paper. “We have two locations so far. On Tuesdays, we distribute at Gowanus Houses — a NYCHA facility around the corner from us — and then on Wednesdays we’re at PS 124, which is a public elementary school that serves a lot of families that live in the WIN shelters adjacent to it.”

Endriss said the nonprofit’s decision to hit the road came about because CHiPS wanted to expand upon existing services without encroaching on other organizations that serve the area.

“Being able to distribute remotely allowed us to double the size, instantly double, and hopefully quadruple the size of our pantry program without having new real estate,” Endriss said. “So we can load up the van and can drive it to another location and access a whole new community of folks.”

CHiPS’ new mobile food pantry has been in service for a few weeks now, but the group’s executive director said he hopes to expand on the initiative in the new year.

In order to serve their community, CHiPS relies on food donations with their partners like Park Slope Food Co-op, Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s and purchases some food to fill any potential gaps left. Close to 1,000 volunteers work to prepare meals and produce for distribution.

With the holidays just around the corner, CHiPS hopes to encourage more people to take advantage of the services they offer, especially with cost of living steadily increasing in the city and the volume of asylum-seekers still in need of aid.

“One of our goals is to make sure that [asylum seekers] understand that they are welcome members of our community and that we care about their wellbeing,” said Endriss. “We care about their children’s wellbeing and their children’s education and getting them fed and housed in accordance with our values. We’re really grateful for the outpouring from the community for this holiday season and we look forward to carrying all that goodwill forward into 2024, because the job doesn’t end with the New Year.”

CHiPS will offer a special holiday meal service on Dec. 22, and will distribute gifts and sweatshirts to food service guests. The organization also recently released a PSA video highlighting their continued services for Park Slope and beyond.

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that CHiPS is a Catholic non-profit organization; CHiPS is a non-sectarian organization. Brooklyn Paper regrets the error. Last updated Dec. 19, 2023 9:09 p.m.