HARLEM, Manhattan — It’s estimated that 1.5 million New Yorkers are food insecure because of the pandemic and that number includes one in three children.
But there is cause for celebration this weekend, as four popular food trucks are giving away free meals.
“These are the people we see every day and they’re really hit at this time,” Demetrius Newton, chef/owner of Island Spice Grill food truck, told PIX11 News.
The Island Spice Grill food truck has been a fixture in Central Harlem since 2014, right on the corner of 135th Street and Lenox Avenue in the shadow of Harlem Hospital.
This weekend is a time to give back to the community, with one free meal for anybody who gets on line to enjoy jerk chicken, shrimp or their vegan dishes.
“Today we’re giving back with the Manzanita Sol and free food for the community,” Roxanne Newton, a chef and co-owner said.
This food giveaway is being underwritten by Pepsico to introduce their new apple drink.
Four food trucks owned and operated by Black or Latino chefs were each given a $10,000 grant, plus food to give back to their communities.
“They deserve this. The food is really wonderful,” said Ashley Clark, an Island Spice Grill customer.
Those waiting on line were so grateful, including those who work with the food insecure like Liz Macmillan, who works with Vista, Americorps and Hunger Free America.
“This is a great way of feeding a community,” McMillan said. “And they are introducing a product, but the main thing is this is really good food.”
The free food truck giveaway continues Sunday at these locations:
- Lechonera La Piraña, 766 E 152nd St (corner of Wales Ave. and 152nd Ave.), South Bronx (1-7 p.m.)
- Headed by the infamous machete-wielding “La Piraña” who is known for his classic Puerto Rican pork dishes.
- El Punto Final, 559 W 185th St, Washington Heights (3-9 p.m. ET)
- Family owned and run, El Punto Final focuses on delivering a taste of home to the Dominican community.
- Nio’s Trinidad Roti, Newkirk Ave. and Nostrand Ave., Flatbush (12-7 p.m., Saturday only)
- Run by a mother and daughter duo that serve up Trinidadian and other Caribbean specialties, curries, and roti in Brooklyn.
- Island Spice Grill, 492 Malcolm X Blvd, Harlem (12:30-6 p.m.)
- Jamaican and other Caribbean food created by a couple who channeled their efforts to keep essential workers fed during the pandemic.