By Jonathan Wilson

 

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams held his monthly “Heroes of the Month” award ceremony in downtown Brooklyn. The ceremony is held to recognize bravery, selflessness and service to the community. This month several awards were given out. The overarching theme of the award ceremony was charity.

The act of charity acknowledged on Thursday was the reaction to the recent government shutdown that Adams said left 51,000 federal workers in New York state without a paycheck for thirty-five days.

“Most missed more than $6,000 in wages,” Adams said. “Many said they had less than one month of savings.” Organizations stepped in to help and were honored as heroes.

Alexander Rapaport, Executive Director of Masbia soup kitchen; Laura Allen, volunteer coordinator with Masbia; and Borough President Eric Adams. Credit: Jonathan Wilson.

One of the organizations at the event was Masbia, a not-for-profit soup kitchen network that serves Kosher meals to anyone in need. It’s been in operation for the past 13 years, it has three locations in Brooklyn. It serves approximately 1,600 people per week and two million people per year according to Alexander Rapaport, Masbia’s executive director.

In a joint statement, Rapaport and Laura Allen, the volunteer coordinator of Masbia, said of those experiencing painful neediness: “By the time they’re in a crisis, already they don’t know where to turn, (and so) they panic.”

With regards to the lingering effects of the government shutdown, Allen said, “Once the shutdown was over what people don’t realize is that, yes, they’re going to get paid but something had to happen in that month with all of the bills, so either they got paid and now you’re flat broke or you didn’t get paid and now you have late fees, etc. Just because the rain is over doesn’t mean you’re not stepping in puddles.”

Rappaport said he wanted the service to be about more than just helping people. He wanted the people he helped to not feel ashamed of needing a helping hand, because our pride sometimes blinds us in our darkest moments.