since 1982

February - March E-Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year from all of us at Bread and Life!

When I look back on the past year I feel very blessed to be a part of an organization that has done so much. What we accomplished in 2022 is a testament to the hard work and dedication of so many-first and foremost our staff who continue to man the frontlines ensuring that anyone who comes to us is served with dignity and compassion, our board who continues to oversee our success, our volunteers who continue to show up each day and inspire us with their commitment to serve, and you, our donors, who join with us in our mission to fight hunger in our community.

As we begin a new year I am reminded that 1 in 4 in our community continue to struggle to meet their basic needs, especially the elderly, medically fragile, children and families. We continue to serve our neighbors who struggle with homelessness, addiction and mental illness and we continue to welcome the stranger among us.

Since July we have distributed 2.5 million meals and are on target to distribute 5 million meals by June. These numbers continue to increase as needs increase and Bread and Life will continue to be on the frontlines ensuring that no one goes hungry or lacks the supports they need to remain stable during times of crisis. 

As we begin the new year, I am so happy to say that the new mobile soup kitchen is ready to launch. This streamline vehicle is energy efficient and can move throughout the city without some of the difficulties we faced with our old MSK. A very big THANK YOU to the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation for its grant of $1 million to continue our Mobile Market program which reaches 40,000 individuals each year providing access to nutritious healthy food, produce and dairy and finally to the students at St. John’s University who donated more than 2,500 pounds of shelf stable food before the Christmas break. These are just a few of the reasons we are so successful. It's collaborations like this that help us fight hunger in the community.

In closing, I agree with Sterling K Brown when he said, “always have an attitude of gratitude.” I am so grateful to each of you for your continued support.

With gratitude,

Sr. Caroline Tweedy, RSM

Executive Director

LENT 2023

We are happy to announce that we've exceeded our $500,000 goal by 17% and would like to thank everyone who supported our 26th Annual Sponsor A Family holiday program. Because of so many amazing donors, volunteers, and our dedicated staff, we were able to give a bright Christmas filled with hope and joy to over 750 families. Click the video below to hear a special message from Sister Caroline Tweedy, RSM, and learn how the Sponsor A Family program has made a difference to families in need this past holiday season.

*Be sure to turn up your volume!

Donate today!



As Bread & Life continues to face unprecedented demand for our services, the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation has provided a major contribution of $1,000,000.00 to our Mobile Market Program. Mother Cabrini's incredible support will directly provide nutritious meals and much-needed pantry food items to thousands of individuals and families in New York. Thank you, Mother Cabrini Health Foundation!

St. John's University Leadership Visit

Bread and Life is blessed to have the strong support of St. John's University and its community of administration, faculty, staff, alumni, and friends who uphold the Vincentian spirit of serving the poor. Recently, the president of St. John's University, Reverand Brian J. Shanley, O.P., and VP for Advancement and University Relations, Chris Vaupel, visited Bread and Life to see first-hand how Bread and Life makes a difference in the lives of struggling New Yorkers. We would like to thank St. John's University for giving Bread & Life over $14,000 in support of our Emergency Food Program.

Thank You!

Swift response to our call for action helped Bread & Life win $1,000 from Ridgewood Savings Bank's #FeedTheHungry contest. Thank you RSB and to those of you who took the time to comment on social media to put Bread & Life in the top 5 mentioned organizations.




We are thrilled to announce that as of Monday, January 30th, 2023, Bread & Life's LATEST AND GREATEST Mobile Soup Kitchen (MSK) is on the move!

The newly customized, energy-efficient kitchen-on-wheels will be serving nutritious, hot, ready-to-serve meals to New York City's most impoverished communities in Williamsburg, Coney Island, Brownsville East New York, and Woodside every week, Monday through Thursday. The MSK is the mobile extension of St. John's Bread & Life, reaching out to families and individuals who do not have any access to food and other social services. Anyone can receive meals, no questions asked!

Bread & Life is also committed to supporting communities around the area with this service in the event of a crisis. Last year, when residents of the Red Hook housing projects found themselves without cooking gas, we altered our MSK route to deliver hot meals to those in need.

For more information including our new route and schedule, please click the button below.



We are so thankful for the incredible individual and group volunteers who have made a tremendous impact here at Bread & Life in the month of January. Below are some highlights!

We are currently taking applications for new volunteers! Help us make a difference in the lives of our neighbors by preparing meals in our kitchen or packing pantry bags! Individual and Group sign-up is available! 


The National Association of Black Social Workers, Inc. (NABSW) comprised of people of African ancestry, is committed to enhancing the quality of life and empowering people of African ancestry through advocacy, human services delivery, and research. Their mission is to work to create a world in which people of African ancestry will live free from racial domination, economic exploitation, and cultural oppression. 

This wonderful group of dedicated women came this month to volunteer in our pantry to prepare and pack meals for our guests.

St. Edmund Preparatory High School is a Roman Catholic college preparatory school for young men and women. These wonderful students continued their ongoing support through the holiday season by preparing and packing pantry bags for our guests. Thank you St. Edmund Prep!

The Center for Service in Action (CSA) at California Polytechnic State University (Cal Poly) connects students with meaningful community service opportunities that complement their educational experience, strengthen their understanding of diversity and social responsibility, and develop skills to become ethical and knowledgeable leaders who contribute to a global society.

The CSA cultivates reciprocal service and learning partnerships between the university and community partner agencies, serving community-based organizations and governmental institutions seeking University support to address unmet community needs.

This phenomenal group of students came all the way from California to volunteer and pack goods for our guests at our pantry during the holiday season. Thank you Cal Poly!



Shoppers Deflated as Inflation Puts Strain on Grocery Budgets - The Tablet

February 28, 2023 | By Paula Katinas | FLUSHING - Elizabeth Apiado has been looking anxiously at the calendar lately, knowing that when March 1 arrives, she will have to dig deeper into her pocketbook to put food on her table. Apiado, who lives with her husband in Flushing, receives benefits under the federal government's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), which provides a stipend for low-income households to buy food.

Read full article

'The need is not going away': an update from NYC food pantries - Epicenter-NYC

February 27, 2023 | by Andrea Pineda-Salgado | St. John’s Bread and Life is a nonprofit organization based in Bed-Stuy, Brooklyn. It provides a range of services to the community, including a food pantry and hot meals truck. Caroline Tweedy is the executive director of St. John’s Bread and Life.

Epicenter-NYC: What has the food pantry been doing since we last spoke?

Tweedy: We’ve seen a super increase in the number of newly arrived asylees. We’ve been trying to work with many of them because they don’t get any benefits and they don’t have anything when they come, so what they can get from us is food, baby supplies, toiletries — basic needs. We work with our Medicaid coordinator who was able to help some of the families that have children get medical assistance. We’re helping about 25 new families per day. Most of them are asylees...

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or text HUNGER to 44321

For volunteering, contact:

Renelle Merstil at rmerstil@breadandlife.org

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