The Free Grocery project at Brooklyn Community High School for Excellence and Equity (Brooklyn X) exemplifies collaboration and connection between a school, its community, and Counseling In Schools. Started by Principal Louis Garcia, the Free Grocery project is intended to bring resources from the Food Bank for New York City into the school. Principal Garcia asked the CIS team inside Brooklyn X to own that relationship, which launched in October 2020.
Since then the Free Grocery has become a bridge to the parents and community of Brooklyn X. The Parent Association has become involved, strengthening that relationship. Our staff even successfully helped a parent find employment – an illustration of the trust that’s been built as a result of the Free Grocery connection. In 2022 we started fresh food distributions and community adoption continues to grow.
The Food Bank for NYC states that its mission is: “To end hunger by organizing food, information and support for community survival and dignity”. The Food bank’s expertise lies in food procurement, bulk distribution and information sharing. They rely on other organizations to establish sites and systems to distribute food to families – and this is where Counseling In School excels. We are often already in touch with high-need families and design intentional systems to reduce stigma and maximize impact.
Successful collaborations between schools like Brooklyn X, community services like Food Bank of NYC, Counseling In Schools and school and community leaders underscore how, with the proper focus to create engagement, impact is realized beyond the classroom walls and into the communities we all serve.