Crowley Kicks off "Summer of Service" at Bronx's Benedict Avenue Food Pantry

June 23, 2009
Press Release

(Bronx, NY) – In the spirit of President Obama’s newly-launched national service initiative called “United We Serve”, Congressman Joseph Crowley (D-Bronx, Queens) kicked off his “Summer of Service” initiative Tuesday, June 23rd, at the Benedict Avenue Community Food Pantry (BACFP) with local volunteers and members of the Food Bank For New York City.  Community volunteers joined Congressman Crowley at the food pantry in packaging and handing out food for over 100 Bronx families in need.  In the coming months, Congressman Crowley will participate in a variety of events throughout the Bronx to underscore the need to give back and provide assistance to others.  Photos from today’s inaugural community service event at BACFP are attached.
“Americans across the nation have responded to President Obama’s call to service and right here in New York City there are many programs that need your help,” said Congressman Crowley.  “During this difficult economic downturn, a day, an afternoon, or even an hour of volunteer service will go a long way towards revitalizing our community and helping many who are less fortunate.  I thank everyone who joined me in today’s effort, particularly BACFP and Food Bank For New York City for hosting the first event in my Summer of Service initiative.”
Throughout the Summer of Service, Congressman Crowley will lead local residents and leaders in a coordinated effort to encourage Bronx communities to engage in service projects across the Borough – helping spur community improvements, renovation and revitalization. 
“Eighty-five percent of the people you see on the front lines of our soup kitchen and food pantries are volunteers. These people are as crucial to our system as the food we serve, so I thank Congressman Crowley for this call to service” said Dr. Lucy Cabrera, President and CEO of the Food Bank For New York City.  “Every year, approximately 5,000 people volunteer their time and talents to help the Food Bank provide support for thousands of low-income New Yorkers.  But as the demand for food increases, so does the need for volunteers. We hope everyone will participate in this Summer of Service initiative.”

“We are very pleased to host the kick-off of Congressman Crowley’s very important ‘Summer of Service’ initiative.   Historically, we have relied on volunteers to assist us at all levels and we could not do what we do without their support,” said Nurah Amat’ullah, Executive Director of Muslim Women’s Institute for Research & Development. “Right now we are at capacity with 4,000 people coming through our doors each month.  With unemployment on the rise and the recession deepening, we need to double our volunteer staff in order to serve our clientele.  We are hoping that today’s initiative will assist us to get that message out to the public. Quite simply: We need your help.”  

For more information on the Summer of Service or to get involved, please visit Congressman Crowley’s website at