The Helping Hands Food Pantry, which began distributing food in 1992, is located in the basement of St. Augustine Church in Park Slope. The pantry distributes food every Saturday from 10:00am – 12:00pm.
The pantry’s primary objective is to provide nutritious and balanced food to those in need on a monthly emergency basis.
It is an all-volunteer organization that serves residents living in the local area defined by the 11215, 11217, and 11238 zip codes.
Each registered household may receive an emergency food bag once every four weeks. Registration data for 2013 indicates that 7,800 people were served during the year, 23% were senior citizens and 19% were children.
The bags contain enough food for 3 meals a day for 3 days for the number of people to be served.
Food bags include: cereal, rice, pasta, milk, canned juice, canned fruit, canned vegetables, tomato sauce, soup, canned/dried beans, canned meat and/or fish. Peanut butter is provided in the large bags. There is also a supplement of fresh vegetables and fruits that are seasonally available.
Funding is through private donations, fundraising events and government grants. The 5K “Fun Run/Walk/Ride” around Prospect Park is an annual fundraising event held the Saturday before Thanksgiving. During the summer a variety of individually organized fundraising events occur, including bake sales, lemonade stands, flea markets, and an annual trip to Atlantic City. All donations and funds raised are used to purchase food. Neighborhood schools also generously organize food drives during the school year to provide staples for the pantry.