After Five Years, Nutrition Program Team Serves Last Lunch to Clients

Smiles on the faces of the ASC nutrition program team belie an underlying sadness as the last lunch was served to nutrition program participants before the program ended after five years, and nearly 100,000 meals were served to hundreds of families. 

“The nutrition program at ASC is, first of all, needed. I’m impressed that it is so multicultural and consistently supportive. Every time you come, the treatment is very professional and humane,” said ASC Nutrition Program client, Louise from Puerto Rico.

“ASC’s nutrition program team makes a point to provide quality food and there is a lot of thought behind the workshops and behind all the food choices they make. I know they really care. You don’t find that too often.”

African Services' food pantry serves more than 6,500 individuals and families each year in need of supplemental nutrition. In addition to supplemental nutrition, pantry staff and the nutrition program team led weekly nutrition and cooking classes since 2012 to assist clients in making the right nutrition choices for themselves and their families. Although funding for our coveted nutrition education program has come to an end, we will still offer a food pantry, including weekly fresh bread donations from Orwasher’s Bakery and organic fruits and vegetables in the summer months through a partnership with the Central Harlem Community Supported Agriculture Program.

Here is what ASC Nutrition Program participants had to say:

“I’m very sad that this program is going away. There are a lot of people out there that really need these services. Programs like this should not be vanishing. We can’t get discouraged. If there is anyway I can advocate to bring this program back to ASC I want to do that. Franco, Youma and Shana -- We will miss you all!”

- ASC Nutrition Program client, David from Guiana

“Thank you Shana and your team. Wherever you all go you will continue to be a light in the tunnel, giving hope to those who are hopeless. Shana has been a great mentor and has been here for me since I first came to America. We will all pray that the program will get some funding so it can continue to help others like it has helped me. There are so many others who really need this program. Thank you for being there for us. We appreciate you. We love you.”

- ASC Nutrition Program client, Eric from Jamaica

“When I heard the news the nutrition program was closing I was so sad. When I came to this country I didn’t know anyone.  I had no food. This program has helped me so much. ASC is very special: The staff shows so much love to their clients — like a big family — and it feels like Africa. The [nutrition] program helps us with so many things.”

- ASC Nutrition Program client Aminata from Burkina Faso

“The nutrition program has been very helpful for me because I came here to also help my children — my 1-year old and 3-year old. So whatever food and knowledge I got from the program went to my family. I am not happy at all about the program closing, but this is life and I hope that one day the program will come back. I’m sad.”

- ASC Nutrition Program client Djénéba from Burkina Faso

“I want potential funders to know the program doesn’t only help the people who come here ill or in need. But we [nutrition program participants] also take the knowledge we’ve learned to our families. I was able to help my sister, who is a nurse. She didn’t know so many of the skills we’ve learned from this program. Then she helped my mother, who she is taking care of.

The program branches off even though we might not always see the numbers in attendance every week. People take this information into their communities and spread it. That is what I was able to do. I introduced the program to a friend. He was able to share the information to a friend who taught his mother how to cook for him. I took care of a few people who weren’t able to make it to the program, but I was able to help them, bring food, cook for them, show them how to safely prepare meals and show them what to buy when they shop. We learned all that at ASC.”

- ASC Nutrition Program client, David from Guiana

“I know when I say this I say this on behalf of so many people here, Shana, Youma and Franco are wonderful.”

- Anonymous ASC Nutrition Program client

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