How Food Pantries Are Helping The Hunger Problem In NYC

How Food Pantries Are Helping The Hunger Problem In NYC

Did you know that 1 in 5 New Yorkers suffer from hunger?
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As a volunteer at Our Lady of Good Counsel’s Food Pantry on Staten Island, I have been blessed to collaborate with some truly incredible individuals, and these relationships have molded me into the empowered woman I am today.

Every moment at the food pantry has been an eye-opening experience, and I am grateful to be a part of such a compassionate community of volunteers. I have been a volunteer since the age of eleven, and it is heartwarming to recognize how my weekly service hours have contributed to the health and happiness of countless individuals on Staten Island.

Since 1993, the mission of our food pantry has been simple: love our neighbors. Under the leadership of Maryann Bollinger and Dolores Connelly, our mission comes to fruition every single week. These women are passionate. Their concern for others is genuine, and they pour their hearts into every single task that comes their way.

In addition to managing our weekly operations, they apply for food grants, coordinate countless donations, organize holiday food drives, pick up food from various locations around the island, accept deliveries during the week, and supervise volunteers like me.

They handle such demanding positions with poise, and I will eternally admire their commitment to such an amazing organization.

With their guidance, our pantry furnishes food to approximately 240 families per month, providing bags of groceries to nearly 80 families each week. Each customer receives a bag with staple food items, such as canned soups, pasta, peanut butter, vegetables, and cereal. In an additional bag, our customers are provided with fresh produce, meat, beans, bread, cake, juice, and other nonperishable items. If there is money to spare, our pantry is also able to provide eggs, milk, and butter for the long line of people outside.

Volunteering for Our Lady of Good Counsel Food Pantry has not only been an incredible opportunity for me to discover the importance of community service, but it has enabled me to develop a deeper layer of gratitude for things I had previously taken for granted.

By helping people who live in a state of such desperation, I have come to learn that happiness cannot be derived from material items. Rather, my greatest joys have been attained through a sincere willingness to help others.

By volunteering at this food pantry, I have learned that there is a larger hunger problem in Staten Island than I could have ever imagined. Hunger exists in front of our eyes, and it affects every single neighborhood in our region. It impacts people of every age, race, gender, religion, and ethnicity. Over 1.4 million people in New York City depend on food pantries for survival. In other terms, one out of every five New Yorkers suffers from the pangs of hunger each day.

The most difficult aspect of volunteering is seeing young children step through the door; it is evident that they are hurting, and I can see desperation in the eyes of some parents. Hunger is a pressing issue here on Staten Island, and I am committed to ending such a horrific problem.

In the future, I hope to advocate the life-giving power of proper nutrition. I plan on promoting the blatant atrocities of hunger, and I seek to expose others to the critical significance of food. Essentially, I desire to pursue my passion for nutrition and combine it with purpose. Malnutrition affects every stage of life and has severe consequences that can impact countless generations. I hope to have a voice in this fight against global hunger.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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9 Things All Mexican Food Addicts Know All Too Well

Don't come between me and my Mexican food.
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In the city I grew up in, there is a Mexican restaurant just about every five miles. They are the after school hangouts and first date go-to's for most of the kids here, especially the high school girls.

I know the servers at my favorite one know my order almost every time I go in there (at least once a week). However, a lot of people apparently get tired of eating Mexican food about twice a week... but I sure don't. If you are a Mexican food addict like me, I am sure you know at least a few of these yourself.

1. Cheese dip tastes like heaven and you have to have it.

That amazing creamy white cheese dip put on a perfectly salted chip is enough to make your day better. Forget the actual food---we'd be content living off of cheese dip and chips for the rest of our lives. Our restaurant trip is not complete without an order of it and if you are lucky enough to get your favorite waiter, maybe even get a large bowl for the night.

SEE ALSO: An Ode To Queso, My First And True Love

2. You never have to look at the menu.



We know when we decide to go what we are having and it is probably the exact same plate we order each time. I am sure the servers laugh after I order some days because there is only three things I rotate between. My burrito is always my go-to, unless I am feeling fancy.

3. Some of the servers know who you are when you walk in the door.

Either by first name or by order they know us. You are the ones that they tell to pick your own seat and already have your drink order placed by the time you sit down.

4. Your boyfriend/ girlfriend puts you on Mexican restaurant restriction on date night.


You drag them there so much, they get tired of eating there. So much so, they flat out say no when you ask to go there on date night. I mean, how does someone get tired of Mexican food to begin with though?

SEE ALSO: The Perfect Skin Color For A Mexican?

5. You can hum some of the songs that come on.

We may not know what they are saying in the song, but we know the song---trust us. We are in there so much we remember them. Don't ask any questions when we start humming.

6. You "have" a parking spot.

Do not park in my parking spot that is not actually my parking spot, but is my parking spot. Got it? Just do not do it. That starts my meal bad when you take my normal spot.

7. You used to hangout there all the time after school.

It was the hangout spot. Forget the nasty school lunch--- everyone goes to eat Mexican after school. It's the cool thing to do and it started your addiction.

8. You always want to introduce new people to your favorite restaurant.

Oh, you aced that exam? Let's go eat at this amazing Mexican restaurant I love! We always want to find people to go there to eat with so we always introduce new people to it.

9. People always pick on you about your addiction.


Yes, I love Mexican food. Go ahead and tag me in all the memes on Facebook about tacos. As long as I have my Mexican food, I am fine with that.

All in all, we LOVE our Mexican food and our go-to restaurants--- so here is your warning. Don't come between me and my Mexican food.

Cover Image Credit: jenaroundtheworld

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10 La Croix Flavors The World Needs

If your favorite flavor is Pure, you're wrong.

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While La Croix has produced many, many, flavors, there's still a variety that we La Croix lovers are still waiting for. On top of this, there are also a lot of flavors that are hated (even despised) by many. While my personal favorite is Blackberry & Cucumber (preferably with a splash of vodka), many find the combination weird. I'm here to list a few new flavors that La Croix needs to highly consider.

1. Honeydew & Cantaloupe

I have a confession... I love honeydew. I know, this is a controversial opinion, but I honestly love the green melon that everyone just considers to be just a filler for fruit salad. Paired with the flavor of cantaloupe, I highly believe that the combination combined with the fizz of a delicious La Croix could be revolutionary. Just think about it until you start giving me hate.

2. Grape

I'm honestly shocked that this still isn't a thing, but everyone really is waiting for a grape-flavored La Croix. For any grape soda lovers, this could easily be a healthier alternative, and as La Croix is known for their natural flavors, this can be a nice step away from the traditional, artificial grape flavor. Just imagine the flavor of some delicious green grapes canned into a fizzy La Croix.

3. Prickly Pear

I know this sounds like a weird one, and some of you may have never even heard of it, but some know the deliciousness of the prickly pear. Growing on cactuses, prickly pears offer a mild flavor, somewhat similar to that of pears and apples. Again, this might sound weird to some, but it's clear that La Croix isn't afraid of offering out-of-the-box flavors. They offer other ones like Blackberry & Cucumber, Apricot, and one of the newest additions, a Cola flavor.

4. Guava

To me, a guava-flavored La Croix doesn't really seem like much of a stretch. I really think that it goes along with the quite random variety of flavors La Croix offers, and guava juice is actually a popular drink. You can buy guava juice in cans, so who's to say that the flavor can't be incorporated into some bubbles and have "La Croix" slapped on the cans.

5. Fig & Honey

Figs and honey are a traditional pairing and also one that could flood its way into La Croix-loving millennial hearts. Figs have a fairly mild taste, often actually being compared to honey. The two go hand-in-hand and once again, going right along with the unique variety of flavors that La Croix currently has. I will say that I don't know exactly how this one would be received right off the bat, but there will definitely be those that will enjoy it, just like those weirdos who like Pure and Coconut.

6. Pumpkin

OK, I'll admit that I'm not so sure about this one, but I can easily see La Croix doing some sort of seasonal, fall limited-edition type campaign here. Just like the Pumpkin Spice Latte and pumpkin flavored beers, there are some that love them and some that hate them. I'm not sure if La Croix would go full pumpkin spice with this one, because honestly the thought of drinking fizzy cinnamon kind of makes me queasy, but pumpkin by itself could be leading to something.

7. Strawberry & Rhubarb 

Anyone who has had the pleasure of enjoying a slice of strawberry rhubarb pie knows how perfect the combination is. The sweet flavor of the strawberries paired with the tart rhubarb is delicious and something I could definitely see La Croix diving into. Though rhubarb isn't a citrus, the sour and pungent flavor definitely resembles it. Offering flavors like lime, lemon, orange, and more, we know that La Croix is a big fan of these more sour flavors.

8. Green Tea

I know this one strays from La Croix's typical fruit flavors, but I still think it makes sense. Matcha and green tea are definitely on trend right now, and I'd be very interested to see how La Croix would put their twist on it. Everyone loves a good can of Arizona Green Tea, but I'm definitely down to try a less sweet and carbonated version.

9. Taro

Again, I realize that this seems a little strange and, once again, veers from the typical La Croix flavor profiles, but I still see it working out. Taro is actually a root vegetable, however it is a featured flavor on many bubble tea menus. It's described as having a "sweet, nutty flavor", which is something that I don't think sounds completely out-of-the-box for La Croix. It'd definitely be interesting and something I'd be curious to try.

10. Spiked

I'm not gonna lie here, this entire list was pretty much just for me to have a reason to talk about my biggest wish for La Croix: Spiked La Croix. Spiked Sparkling Seltzer is really up-and-coming right now, with brands like White Claw, Truly, Spiked Seltzer, and even Smirnoff hopping into the game, so I really don't think it would be that much of a push for La Croix to release their own take on it. Let's be honest, we all are prone to throw some vodka in it now and then, so why not just make it easier on us and just do it for us, La Croix?! Taking some of the flavors they already offer and giving them an alcoholic twist would be loved by La Croix fans, college students, and housewives alike. Can you just imagine the possibilities?!

I really believe that some of these could be strong contenders for La Croix to take up and make their own. So, La Croix, if ya need some help developing, please free to hit me up... Anyways, what're some of your hopes for La Croix flavors? Let us know in the comments!

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