Embrace Relief, Youth Island team up for weekly food drive in Manhattan

During the weekend of Oct. 22-23, the Embrace Relief Foundation and Youth Island NY teamed up to distribute food, clothing and toiletries to more than 200 people near Herald Square in Midtown Manhattan.

This event is the first of a planned series of regular distribution events that will be held by the two organizations Sunday nights at 7 p.m. near the intersection of West 35th Street and Broadway in New York, which will serve all kinds of people in need, including unhoused people.

“We’ve found, through our work, that there are many organizations distributing food during weekdays in the area, but none on Sundays. And of course people who can’t afford food still need food on Sunday,” said Osman Dulgeroglu, Embrace Relief’s CEO. “This is why it’s very important for Embrace Relief to partner with Youth Island to distribute hot meals. We are planning to be able to do this every Sunday in the near future. Together, we will be able to fill an important role.”

And last weekend’s event, like all future distributions will be, was truly a team effort. Embrace Relief collected many boxes’ worth of donations of clothes and toiletries, and also provided its mobile market food distribution truck. Around 20 Youth Island volunteers gathered together on each of the two nights in the heart of bustling New York City to distribute the items and keep the event running smoothly and ensure that the 200-plus attendees received their items and food in an organized fashion.

Founded in 2017, Youth Island NY is a nonprofit organization aiming to provide spiritual, social and academic support and mentorship for middle- and high-school students. Last weekend’s event allowed its group of student volunteers to make an impact in other people’s lives and reflect on their own, says Sevket Arar, Youth Island’s Director of Education.

“It’s important to organize events like this,” he said. “Not only can we help others in need, but our volunteers become more empathetic and understand how blessed they are.”

“Life can be very difficult for people who are homeless,” Dulgeroglu says. “Some are unable to break the cycle of poverty, others have been unfortunate in different ways. We must all work to ensure that everyone has their basic needs met, no matter their situation.”

The planned weekly Sunday night distribution in Manhattan will mark the continuation of a successful partnership between Embrace Relief and Youth Island, which now dates back more than five years. In past years, with Embrace Relief’s support, Youth Island students have been able to travel to Uganda and Haiti to distribute food, conduct health screenings, and teach local students.

The best way for you to support future food distribution events is by donating either money or clothing. Donating to Embrace Relief’s Hunger Relief program will keep our mobile market food truck running, while Youth Island requests that interested donors contact them via their website, www.youthisland.org.

Embrace Relief is a registered 501(c)(3) humanitarian nonprofit organization based in Fairfield, NJ, and dedicated to providing aid to people and communities in need in the United States and around the world. The Foundation operates programs in eight different humanitarian areas: disaster relief, hunger relief, clean water, health, education, children, refugee relief, and women’s empowerment. For more information on Embrace Relief’s programs, visit www.embracerelief.org.