BEDFORD-STUYVESANT — A group of Brooklyn educators and residents is hoping to find a solution to the city’s homelessness and hunger problem — one sandwich at a time.
Bed-Stuy’s Katmint Learning Initiative, a daycare center based in a Quincy Street brownstone, launched its “PB&J Initiative” this winter to provide meals to homeless individuals and create learning opportunities for the center’s kids.
“I just wanted to help out and create this wonderful community in Bed-Stuy,” said Andre Farrell, Katmint’s founder.
“It came about just from seeing what’s going on in the area. What could we do here to make the situation better? How can we assist?”
With his team of teachers and help from students in the daycare, Farrell started giving out peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to Brooklyn’s homeless community in December, later expanding the program with donated coats, hats and scarves.
Each meal package contains a PB&J sandwich, water, oranges and apples, with the brown bags decorated with notes and messages from The Katmint’s kids.
“They say things like, ‘Never give up” and ‘Always know that you’re loved,'” Farrell said. “The point is to help them inspire themselves and maybe get the courage to get back into society and do great things.”
Volunteers are encouraged to bring their children with them during the weekend outings throughout the borough, and the group has made stops in Bed-Stuy, Crown Heights, Fort Greene and Downtown Brooklyn, he added.
“It teaches kids about the power of giving and empathy. You’re only as strong as the environment that you’re in, so if you can have an impact on making your surroundings strong, that’s great.”
Since December, the Katmint’s PB&J Initiative has fed 250 people, according to Farrell. The group hopes to reach out to 1,000 men, women and children through the program.
Parents can join the day care center on Fridays from 3 to 5 p.m. to prepare sandwiches, which will be distributed on the following Saturdays.
For those looking to donate, the Katmint Learning Initiative is looking for bread, peanut butter, jelly and brown bags, along with lightly used coats, gloves, hats and scarves.
For more information, email info@TheKatmint.com or call 347-453-6609.