Giving People What They Need

May 22, 2024  |  by Maggie Prendergast   |  

In honor of Asian American & Pacific Islander (AAPI) Heritage Month, we are celebrating Food Bank member agencies that uplift and serve AAPI New Yorkers. One of these agencies is the MUNA Social Services, a Bangladeshi-run organization that operates out of East New York and provides culturally-relevant food and educational programming.  

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York City in 2020, MUNA saw an urgent need for fresh food in the East New York community and sprang into action, pooling together resources and getting creative to buy groceries and distribute them to neighbors in need. Sometimes, MUNA even called upon local cab drivers to deliver food safely through contactless drop-offs – a clever solution during a time when many drivers saw a decline in riders. 

IMG_5913MUNA's weekly distributions are lively and bustling.

As the need grew, MUNA knew it had to scale up its efforts. That's when it turned to Food Bank For New York City for support. Since then, MUNA and Food Bank have collaborated to host weekly food distributions outside of a local mosque, providing a lifeline to the Bengali community in East New York. These distributions offer a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables from Food Bank. And because 80% of MUNA's clients are Muslim, MUNA goes the extra mile to provide Halal meats whenever available – an expensive but essential staple in Bengali cooking. MUNA’s distributions often last for 5 hours and can serve over 100 people per hour! 

IMG_5925Food Bank provides MUNA with fresh produce so that New Yorkers can cook according to their own cultural traditions.

But MUNA didn't stop there. Recognizing the high demand for food in its community, it increased its distributions and scaled up to offer extra support on weekends. MUNA also operates food pantries in Delaware and New Jersey, ensuring that other American-Bengali communities have access to the food they need to thrive. 

IMG_5937Dr. Kabir and Mr. Haq reflect on their work at MUNA.

Dr. Jahangir M. Kabir, Director of Communication and Operations at MUNA, reflects on his organization’s work: "We are a very loving community. We welcome everybody and anybody; they can come anytime. Our mosque is open. We have the same dreams and hopes like everybody else, the same problems and challenges as everybody else." 

IMG_5921MUNA's team of volunteers is dedicated and hard working.

For more on how MUNA innovates to nourish its community, watch the video below...  

Muna and East New York

At Food Bank, we're honored to support organizations like MUNA that go above and beyond to serve their neighbors. Together, we're working to empower every New Yorker to achieve food security for good. Click here to learn more about and support these vital organizations

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