Members of the Queens-based Caribbean Equality Project, (CEP) headed by founder, Mohamed Q. Amin, continued its every third Saturday food justice initiative at the intersection of Parkside and Ocean avenues in Brooklyn, on March 26, to satisfy the needs of residents who continue to experience food insecurity during the Omicron pandemic.
Tables were laden with Caribbean staples of potatoes onions, carrots, beans, pasta, and canned goods of tuna and salmon, as well as facemasks, toiletries, socks, and resource brochures to educate residents about the coronavirus, medical benefits, vaccination, and community outreaches that are available to them.
Amin, also the executive director of (CEP), a non-profit advocating for Caribbean LGBTQ voices in NYC, praised volunteers whose work helps to highlight the immigrant rights organization, more so, during the coronavirus pandemic.
He said for the past two years the organization has been hosting COVID-19 relief and resilient food justice programs, every third Saturday of every month.
“We’ve been hosting a monthly pantry at Parkside Plaza right here in the heart of Little Caribbean, which is promoted via social media,” he said.
“This is Little Caribbean. Every single Caribbean diaspora lives in Brooklyn. This is the Lefferts Gardens area and we’ve been hosting this pantry and providing fresh produce, healthy meals and fresh groceries to our community members, and as you can see, it’s culturally responsive,” he said.
“Our community members are getting items that they would go and spend money on since many of our community members are still experiencing food insecurity.”
“It’s been two years since we’ve been recovering but we’re still navigating. We’re still seeing an increase in COVID cases particularly from the new variant and because of that we are providing at home antigen test,” said the advocate.
“Our community members are also making vaccination appointments for residents. If you don’t have your vaccination and you need to get a booster shot, we’re making appointments for your booster,” advised Amin.
The community advocate, who traveled from Richmond Hill, Queens, said his outreaches meet residents in three boroughs.
“I often say that the Caribbean Equality Project work is Caribbean centric locally, in Caribbean neighborhoods, that include Little Guyana in Queens, Little Caribbean in Brooklyn on Parkside, and Soundview Avenue in the Bronx. We do this work in three boroughs because we know all three boroughs are experiencing food insecurity and of course, it’s been two years since we’ve been in this pandemic and there’s still a great need in every community.”
He said the need is great in every borough he goes to primarily because “we organize our pantries and serve our community with love, and with abundance, and we provide food that community members can save, and refrigerate and mix into different meals that they already have.”
“We also collect our community members information so when we have these pantries, we send out text messages, and emails, letting communities know what is happening,” he said of the NY-based 501(c)(3) non-profit community organization committed to uplifting marginalized Caribbean LGBTQ voices and advocating for greater family acceptance through community organizing, public education, cultural, and social programming.
“I work with the most amazing team of volunteers. The Caribbean Equality Projects Community Action team have been doing this work for two years, and every single pantry attended to, we have served anywhere between 300 and 350 people and that’s just people that physically shows up and take-home food to feed at least a family of four,” said Amin, head of the organization that has received numerous accolades for its work.
Co-sponsors included The Campaign Against Hunger, NYC Health + Hospitals, New York Communities for Change– Flatbush Chapter, Flatbush Mixtape, and MetroPlusHealth. To learn more, go to https://www.CaribbeanEqualityProject.org/
[email protected] or call (347) 709-3179.