Angelmobile Rises to Challenge of Growing Need in North Brooklyn
Barely three months after the Angelmobile took flight, the number of piping hot lunches it delivered to hungry people throughout northern Brooklyn more than tripled.
Beginning in the last week of June, this 40-foot mobile food truck started serving about 300 meals across three days a week. The truck is operated by the North Brooklyn Angels, nonprofit organization of community groups, churches and businesses focuses on fighting hunger, food insecurity and poverty.
By the end of September, the word was out, and meals flew from that their truck window. So these days, volunteers serve 1,000 meals, five days a week, said Ryan Kuonen, the group’s executive director.
Kuonen is executive director of North Brooklyn Angels, the nonprofit which operates the truck. The organization is a coalition of community groups, churches, and businesses focused on fighting hunger, food insecurity and poverty.
“There are a lot of people who think because the neighborhood is so trendy, there’s not hunger here,” Kuonen said about the area, which includes the much-hyped hipster neighborhoods of Williamsburg and Greenpoint. “Doing this, you realize how many people are really struggling, having to choose between buying food or paying rent.”
Angelmobile leaders selected five distinct neighborhoods to serve different demographics. These are also locations where other hunger programs exist where the community who need them will know to come.
Because of the increasing demand, construction of a commercial kitchen for North Brooklyn Angels began at Mount Carmel Roman Catholic Church in September. The goal is to have the kitchen in operation by the end of the year to begin preparing meals onsite.
The truck also includes an office onboard for partner organizations to offer social services to guests. During the meals, Kuonen said they’ve learned that people in the community want help signing up for health care and for legal services, especially for affordable housing. They will engage organizations to provide this support in the upcoming months.
Of course, North Brooklyn is not unique in its need to feed struggling residents. So The Rev. John Merz, vicar of the Episcopal Church of the Ascension and cofounder of the North Brooklyn Angels, said he would like the Angelmobile to be a model for other churches and civic groups to do the same for their community’s most vulnerable members.
“Why not just go to where people are, if you want to be effective and really help people?”
For more information, visit www.northbrooklynangels.org.