As much of America practices social distancing in an attempt to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, a New York soup kitchen is also changing their practices to serve those in need.
CHiPS, a soup kitchen and shelter that has been operating in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn for the past 40 years, is continuing their operations as events, schools and other large gatherings are cancelled across New York City and the rest of the United States.
“We have food. We’re giving it away,” the soup kitchen’s executive director Denise Scaravella told InsideEdition.com. “We’re open to anybody at all that wants to come, that’s in need. We’ll keep giving away food.”
But instead of inviting their patrons to sit down and enjoy the meal, they’re giving away breakfast and lunch to-go.
“We decided, instead, to take the food – we have been asking for donations for sandwiches – packing them up and giving them out to people as they come to the door as opposed to having them sit down inside,” she explained.
In the past few days, Scaravella said they’ve seen 75 to 85 people come every morning to pick up a bagged breakfast.
They have also added extra pantry giveaway programs, where anybody with access to a kitchen can pick up bags of rice, beans and pasta.
“Whatever we have, we’re giving it away,” she said.
About 150 volunteers cook, clean and serve food at the soup kitchen over the course of the week, Scaravella explained. “They’re cleaning all the time,” she said. “As they’re cooking, they’re cleaning. As they’re serving, they’re cleaning.”
As local businesses sees a drop in patronage, their soup kitchen becomes more integral than ever to the neighborhood's functioning, she said.
“It’s this community that supports the people that need it the most,” she said.