With the cost of diapers and formula on the rise, Downtown Brooklyn church launches aid program for young families

Brooklynites line up for an aid giveaway outside of the downtown church.
Next Step Community Church has started a new ministry to help out young families.
Photo courtesy of Next Step Community Church/Facebook

In response to high costs of living and overlapping crises in New York City, a Downtown Brooklyn church is lending a hand to expecting parents and young families. 

Next Step Community Church — in partnership with Food Bank For New York City, a hunger-relief organization — has created a new ministry to help connect families with baby essentials including formula, diapers, clothing, and other day-to-day necessities.

Zac Martin, pastor of justice and outreach, said the ministry was founded to support local parents who may be facing economic difficulty. 

diapers in drawer
The program helps new parents and families access affordable diapers, formula, and other baby supplies. Photo courtesy of Nathan Dumlao/Unsplash

“We know that those in recovery also experience a host of other issues and often lead to a host of other struggles, homelessness, unemployment, health issues,” he said. “Our church has always had food services as a way of meeting people where they are in their moments and seasons of need.”

The team was spurred to action after noticing the increasing amount of financial instability following the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to the NYC True Cost of Living report the number of working families unable to “meet the minimum cost of living in New York City” increased from 36% in 2021 to 50% in 2023. 

In July, the ministry served over 200 households in the greater Downtown Brooklyn area.

“The goal of this ministry is to meet folks in the margins in their place of need and work together to address the reasons for the need,” Martin told Brooklyn Paper. “Monthly we serve thousands of people with our pantry and hundreds with our community breakfast, and in the midst of that have worked to add more supportive services: clothing, access to social services, showers and toiletry kits.”

Of the the 2.6 million working households that were surveyed, roughly 1.3 million of them live with money insecurity and struggle to afford the basic needs of housing, food, transportation and health care, according to the study.
Volunteers pitch in at a Thanksgiving Meal giveaway at NSCC.
The church offers many programs to help people in need, Martin said, offering food and support. Photo courtesy of Next Step Community Church Facebook

Outside of NSCC’s new baby focused service, the parish also hosts giveaways, community meals, food pantries and provides mobile showers. Brooklynites in need can pick up anything from men’s clothing, underwear, and socks to feminine products, granny carts and backpacks.

Locals can get connected to the church by stopping by the location at 360 Schermerhorn St., visiting their online website