So far this year, the Angelmobile has raised enough money to provide 26,000 hot meals, but the group wants to take it a step further. They hope to serve 50,000 meals by the end of 2019.
To reach that milestone, the North Brooklyn Angels hosted a fundraising luncheon last Wednesday at the Polish National Home in Greenpoint. Dozens of community leaders and residents attended to support the organization’s mission of “Neighbors Helping Neighbors.”
“By drawing in the community and letting them learn more about what we do, they see it and they’ll know,” said luncheon organizer Elaine Brodsky. “This community has embraced this like nothing you’ve ever seen.”
Brodsky, who with her husband Norman has been a benefactor of the organization, said the North Brooklyn Angels hopes to bridge the economic divide caused by gentrification. The project has enlisted the help of local residents, volunteers and other organizations.
“This room is filled with such love, attention and care today,” she said.
In addition to providing meals to five different locations throughout north Brooklyn, the Angelmobile also has an office for social services. Last May, the group built a commercial kitchen at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Williamsburg to prepare the meals.
Community advocate Neil Sheehan, who chairs the North Brooklyn Angels, was one of the driving forces before the project.
“We believe if you ask people who are doing okay in life to help their neighbors, they will,” he said. “This is about helping those less fortunate.”
The luncheon also served as an opportunity for the Angels to honor local supporters and contributors with a “Good Neighbor Award.”
One of the honorees was Ana Oliveira, senior vice president and market executive at Investors Bank and co-chair of the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce.
Oliveira said the award fits perfectly with the company’s core values: community, commitment, cooperation and character.
“It really makes me feel great inside that me and my team are being recognized for fulfilling that,” she said, “and living our lives everyday to fulfill those core values.”
Oliveira said corporations are responsible for their own backyards and making sure the community is cared for. She said there are many ways for business and community leaders to work together to improve life for others.
“It’s never good when you have one group prospering and another one still suffering,” she said. “An organization like this, it makes you feel good that you’re a part of it.”
Investors Bank first came to Brooklyn eight years ago, and opened up its Greenpoint branch on Manhattan Avenue in June 2016. Oliveira said before the bank opens a branch in a community, its leaders try to find community groups and organizations already making an impact.
She said they don’t want to recreate the impact those groups are making, but supplement it.
“Organizations like this just really inspire us everyday,” Oliveira said.
Another honoree was Borough President Eric Adams, who spoke about the hunger needs in the borough. He pledged to donate $20 per week to North Brooklyn Angels.
The final awardee was local restaurateur Josh Cohen, who designed the kitchen facility and came up with a food program. Cohen owns eight restaurants in the area.
“It’s an honor,” he said. “I felt very fortunate to be able to have the time and to work in such a supportive community.
“This project is just about neighbors pitching in and helping some of our less fortunate neighbors,” he added. “It’s a win-win.”
Born and raised as a third-generation Brooklynite, Cohen said he has seen how the borough has changed, as well as the economic disparities.
That’s why he has become involved in this project with local contributors like Broadway Stages and the Brodsky family.
“It’s great to be able to work with a bunch of folks you already have strong relationships with for a common goal,” Cohen said.