Bringing fresh food to the vulnerable: One woman’s act of kindness

Jamaican born Naeemah Senghor preparing to distribute food to the needy.
Photo by Isoke Senghor

Naeemah Senghor was born in the parish of Manchester, Jamaica, where her father’s family is from. She has lived in Brooklyn for most of her life.

“Most people would be surprised that I am agoraphobic (a fear of open spaces in which a person perceives their environment as being unsafe) ; that’s ironic considering that I run a weekly food distribution in an open space,” she said.

Senghor credits her mother, Edith, who was also born in Jamaica, as the greatest influence on her path of serving her community.

“As a nurse, my mom would volunteer in local community health fairs and health symposiums. She would take blood pressure, glucose tests and eye exams and give referrals to local clinics if needed,” she added.

While growing up, Senghor witnessed her grandmother who lived in the Mocho Mountains, in Clarendon, Jamaica, being kind to her neighbors and family members. According to Senghor, she “was surrounded by a community of family and friends who took care of each other and were always supportive and caring. They looked out for each other.”

She also recalled when her uncle would send fresh goat’s milk and fresh provisions for her family to eat, or when she would have her hair braided by her grandmother’s cousin.

Senghor has been serving her community for more than 30 years. She has been a volunteer with the Flatbush Friendly Fridge for four years now. It all started after meeting Carolyn Stallard, a co-founder.

“I remember dumpster diving with her and finding perfectly fresh, edible and delicious food, which we would stock in the community fridge. I was like, ‘Wow! Do they throw away this perfectly good food?’ I didn’t understand why. I then became hooked with the process of food rescue and reallocation,” she stated.

She also started The Village House Pantry to supplement the needs of the broader community by offering food bags, clothes and other personal items which are personalized to the


“I’ve led The Village House Pantry in distribution campaigns, organized food rescues and pickups from donating partners, and have enrolled neighbors and friends into maintaining our community fridge,” she continued.

The pantry does a weekly food distribution on the sidewalk at the intersection of Parkside and Rogers avenues in Brooklyn. “The food I go about rescuing comes from regular and gourmet grocers, farmers and other large and small food establishments. The food is clean, fresh, edible and delicious that would have otherwise gone to waste,” said Senghor

Many of the pantry’s recipients are experiencing challenges, but are not qualified for social services. “No one should have to choose between ‘eat or heat,’” she added.

Through the pantry, Senghor and her team are able to serve more than 600 families weekly with direct food distribution and personalized food bags.

“Our consistency shows the community that we are committed to make a difference in their lives. We also provide food bags, clothing and personal hygiene supplies for the unhoused in Prospect Park, the Prospect Park Subway and surrounding areas.”

Some of her favorite hobbies growing up were crocheting, knitting, sewing and painting. She has since added soap making and gardening.

She  would want her legacy to be one that is centered on service to others. She believes it can be simple and rewarding, and anyone could do it at any time of their life. “It feels good, it gives you a sense of accomplishment.”

For the younger generations, Senghor wants her life to serve as inspiration “to leave the community better than you found it.”

To support Senghor and her work in the community, those interested can follow her on Facebook (, and Instagram (

Those interested can find more information on the weekly food distribution events organized by Senghor here:

The Village House Pantry –

Flatbush Friendly Fridge –