Chef Ruben Diaz led the Masbia Soup Kitchen Network’s delegation at the recent Canyon of Heroes’ ticker tape parade to celebrate the essential workers who served the city throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. The Masbia delegation of “Hometown Heroes” was greeted by Mayor Bill De Blasio, Senator Chuck Schumer and New York City Council member Brad Lander, among many more.
Since the beginning of March 2020, when the idea of a lockdown was somewhat in the air, Masbia senior staff, under the leadership of Diaz, started planning all kinds of food contingencies to be able to remain open during the looming emergency. Sixteen months and 20 million pounds of food later, Diaz hasn’t taken a day off as he and his team make sure that no one goes to sleep hungry in New York City.
While a pandemic is a health emergency, many New Yorkers were adversely impacted by the economic effect, and are still recovering. As the pandemic turned into a recession and so many people needed basic food help, Diaz transitioned Masbia Soup Kitchen Network’s services into an outdoor, ready-to-go, 24-hour operation. He also transformed the extraordinarily long food lines into a digital appointment system that operates in seven languages. On average, he and his team distributed more than a million pounds of kosher food each month to hungry New Yorkers.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, the Masbia Soup Kitchen Network has mobilized to respond to the city’s emergency food needs, and is continuing to respond to a 500% increase in demand. Each day, close to 500 families visit Masbia at each of its three locations (Borough Park, Flatbush and Forest Hills). That means about 1,500 families a day and 7,500 every week get food relief from Masbia.
Masbia is a grass-roots, hand-to-mouth organization where every dollar donated makes it into someone’s stomach in less than two weeks. Everything that is done at Masbia is done only because tens of thousands of people come together and share resources to make it happen.
Now that we’re in the recovery phase, celebrating the fact that Chef Ruben Diaz and his team at Masbia have touched so many people’s lives, the invitation to march in the Hometown Heroes Parade in recognition of their roles of essential workers is a welcome honor that he and his team are happy to take part in.
Visit https://www.masbia.org to find out more about this extraordinary charitable organization.