How do the couple who started a food bank spend their Sundays

When the pandemic caused food banks to close in March 2020, two volunteers in the soup kitchen, Mohamed Mahmoudi and Sasha Allenby, borrowed the kitchen of a baker’s friend to prepare hot meals for people in need.

This evolved into EV Loves NYC, a nonprofit organization that serves 2,000 meals every Sunday from its headquarters at the Sixth Street Community Center in Manhattan’s East Village.

The food is not typical soup kitchen fare. Every weekend, volunteers prepare dishes that reflect the cultural heritage of the responsible chef.

The meals are then packed into cars, trucks, bike vans and backpacks to be delivered to New Yorkers in all five boroughs. About 30 organizations, including relief groups, churches and mosques, are helping with the distribution.

Mr. Mahmoud, 35, and Ms. Allenby, 49, both of whom have kept their full-time jobs despite the 40 hours a week they devote to EV Loves NYC, are also a married couple. In March, they moved from East Village to Bushwick, Brooklyn.

preliminary Mammad Mahmoodi: I get up at seven and start checking my messages, making sure everything is in place, like the huge amount of rice we use. I have to get out by 7:30 so I can get to the community center before 8, when the volunteers start coming. I never eat breakfast. One of the volunteers usually comes with a bag of bread or something from a local coffee shop. Sasha Allenby: I make a chocolate smoothie at home before going into battle. Got there around 9.

division of duties millimeter: Sundays we have three shifts. The first transformation is preparing, chopping, and cooking. That’s 10 people. The second shift is actually gastronomic. That’s 15 people. The third shift is cleaning. That’s only five people. Before people get to the kitchen around 8:30, I walk around to help get set up. on me: When I get there, I basically talk to the volunteers, and make sure everyone is okay on a personal level. Since the beginning of the pandemic, 1,400 volunteers have arrived at our door. Of those, 30 to 40 keep coming back and are deeply fond of the project. They are our core.

Rising prices millimeter: In the past six months, inflation has really affected us. We buy everything in bulk, but it has affected us drastically. in: Because of Mohamed’s economic ingenuity, we were making delicious meals for 80 cents each. That same meal now costs $2.20.

almost seamless millimeter: Our first and most important rule is to create delicious meals that people will be happy with. We are fond of food. in: It must be like a meal coming from seamless. same effect.

Intentions millimeter: At 11:30, when the first shift ends and the second shift begins, we stand up. This is where everyone comes together to say, “Hey, how important is this food? What do we do?”

Getting ready for a walk in: Two to three times a month we have a volunteer DJ who comes in during the second shift. DJ Tommy is our most popular one. When he comes, the atmosphere in the kitchen is very loud. Does it really make a difference. millimeter: It’s funny: when we have DJs, efficiency and productivity go up. in: It makes people feel more connected.

the rules in: In the afternoon people come from the neighborhood to bring food. I spend time with them individually, making sure I build a connection. A single lady is a larger than life figure. She is a poet. Sometimes she writes us poetry or dances for us. This is the kind of place it is. People feel welcome to come in and have a little love and a little connection. Usually the poet eats five or six meals. Don’t get any other hot meals during the week.

hot stuff millimeter: The food we prepared goes to many different organizations. But I’d say 400 to 500 of the 2,000 meals we make per week go to the non-domesticated population. At about five, two or three Mutual Aid volunteers go to places we know non-residential residents go to, like Chinatown and Washington Square Park. The food is packed in thermal bags, similar to what pizza is packed in, so it’s hot for them.

late shift in: I’m there to clean up. I’m not particularly obsessed, but I am fully aware that the community center is not our space. We rent it, so I want to be respectful and leave it better than I found it. millimeter: The last thing we do before we close is yell, “Anyone here?” It started as a joke, but is now a tradition, like a closing bell. It is a large community center. We want to make sure no one is sleeping under the bench. in: Packages of prepared food are lined up in the alley. Organizations come to pick it up.

spend millimeter: We go home on the L train. Long live the L train. in: At home, we collapse. It’s work, the amount of people we’ve been in contact with, and the amount of our hearts we’ve put into it causes us to break down. millimeter: After taking a shower, I fainted. It’s the deepest sleep ever.

Sunday routine readers can follow EV Loves NYC on Instagram and TikTokevlovesnyc.

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