Parish in Borough Park Helps Feed the Hungry

Food Pantry
Volunteers help maintain the parish food pantry at Holy Spirit, Borough Park.

Realizing that there are many families in his parish that are in need of food, Father Heebong Nam, pastor of Holy Spirit Church in Borough Park, approved a parish food pantry in November of 2009. At first, the pantry depended on the generous support of the parishioners. For almost a year, each Sunday morning, food would appear in the box at the entrance of the church. Next to the box was a large sign in both English and Spanish that read: “I was hungry, and you gave me food.”
Volunteers from the parish’s Bible Study Group, as well as students preparing for Confirmation, would bring the food to the church basement, sort it and check expiration dates. It would then be stored in a closet in the basement until the third weekend of the month when parishioners could come to receive needed supplies.
As more needs became known, Carol Tolano, one of the program founders, began collecting money at the door of the church from parishioners who wanted to support the program.  She used this money to supply fresh fruit and vegetables, as well as detergent to the families that needed help.
After about a year, she and Father Nam decided to request help from Catholic Charities. Now approximately 200 adults and children receive assistance each month. In addition, all volunteers have completed a nutrition class offered by Cornell University’s Cooperative Extension.