By Daniel Buckley
Last month I volunteered a little of my time to drop off materials at a few restaurants participating in Time Out For Hunger. I specifically asked for restaurants in the Lower East Side for a couple of reasons. First, I love the walk from the Food Bank’s office in the Financial District. And, second, for me it was a perfect excuse to drop by The Pickle Guys (they weren’t part of Time Out For Hunger, but I am convinced they brine the best pickles in the world, so I think they deserve a mention).
The walk to the LES always reminds me why I love New York City. It may be crowded and it may be dirty, but I have never encountered a city packed so full of history and diversity. The route I walk takes me past Ancient Order of Hibernians Drive, a building still marked as the Five Points Mission, a Buddhist temple, at least one synagogue, innumerous durians, under the Manhattan bridge and on.
I also can’t help but be aware of how much poverty exists along this short route — even above Delancey, where the LES is now more well known for designer boutiques than for its tenement rows. Using our Food Program Locator, I found that just in 10002 — the zip code where I delivered our materials — there are six food pantries, one soup kitchen and two senior centers that serve free meals.
It still amazes me to find so much need in our city, even where at first glance you wouldn’t expect it. Take a look at your own zip code, or the zip where you work. You may be surprised.
p.s. Next week is Volunteer Appreciation Week, so check back for more posts about volunteering.
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