On Wednesday, Educational Alliance brought the holiday spirit to dozens of families on Manhattan’s Lower East Side with a day of service at Manny Cantor Center (MCC).
The event tapped into the spirit of giving with a Pop-Up Holiday Pantry where volunteers provided free meal kits from Trader Joe’s and extended hours at Educational Alliance’s ReLoved Boutique, a free thrift store where families of all incomes can get children’s apparel, books, furniture, and other goods.
“On the Lower East Side, there are a lot of families who live on the margins of crisis,” said Alan van Capelle, President and CEO of Educational Alliance. “The Holiday Pantry is a great way to make families’ holidays less stressful and a lot happier.”
Over the course of the day, Educational Alliance volunteers distributed 190 free meal kits, which included fresh greens, a coupon for a turkey or ham, and various holiday side dishes.
“As a mom I like to give back to the community and be really engaged in the community,” said Melanie Diaz, a parent volunteer at the ReLoved Boutique. “ReLoved is the most amazing thing because I know there are a lot of parents right now who are struggling to provide the bare minimum. It’s just amazing that, as a parent, you can come in here and shop and not have to spend a penny.”
“In this community, the two biggest issues are housing insecurity and food insecurity,” said City Council Member-elect Christopher Marte, who volunteered at the event. “Being able to provide healthy meals for families is a game changer.”