SOURCE: Jaime, Daren. “Food Bank For New York City I OPEN” BronxNet, Nov. 9, 2023.
Watch the video above for our very own Warehouse Professional Kwadwo Bland’s full interview with OPEN Host Daren Jaime of BronxNet to discuss how Food Bank is helping to empower veterans to achieve food security for good.
Born into a military family, New York native Kwadwo Bland served our country as an Army veteran before serving our community as a Warehouse Professional at Food Bank For New York City.
Kwadwo’s connection to Food Bank’s mission runs deep, stemming from his personal experience with food insecurity after he returned from three tours in Iraq during the height of the pandemic. His firsthand experience motivates his commitment to giving back and supporting veterans facing similar challenges.
At Food Bank For New York City, Kwadwo plays a crucial role in preparing food to supply our network of 800+ local food pantries across the five boroughs. He actively contributes to packing various food items, including dairy, dry products, meats, fruits, vegetables, and essential items like baby diapers, and period products at the Hunts Point warehouse in The Bronx.
“I love it here. It’s beautiful. And plus, as a Native New Yorker, I’m still giving back,” Kwadwo shares. He highlights the incredible feeling of making a difference, recounting instances where people, desperate for their next meal, were greeted with food and support – no questions asked.
When asked to reflect on the impact of his work, he shares that the warmth he feels when contributing to Food Bank’s mission often brings him to the verge of tears. His “why” is rooted in the understanding of suffering and the desire to make a difference in the lives of those experiencing hardship.
I know what it’s like to suffer. I’ve been in that situation before…So trust me, everything that I know that’s going on out there I’ve experienced firsthand, and I just want to give back.
Although he did not intend to begin a career at Food Bank after serving as an Army Officer, his service opened his eyes about the importance of giving back to his community. For Kwadwo Bland, his work at Food Bank For New York City is a testament to the power of community, empathy, and the shared commitment to combat food insecurity.
About Food Bank
Driven by our mission to empower every New Yorker to achieve food security for good, we harness the collective power of our network of food providers, partners, and volunteers to activate the right resources, supports, and expertise across the five boroughs. Our work with more than 800 soup kitchens, food pantries, and campus partners provides immediate and reliable access to food and nutrition education, while our economic empowerment programs give people the tools and know-how to improve their financial wellness. Community by community, we work together to make progress on a more hopeful, dignified, and equitable future for all. To learn more about our impact or get involved, visit foodbanknyc.org.