Every Saturday morning, Reverend John Udo-Okon wakes up at 1 a.m. He parks his two vans on East 163rd Street, in the Longwood neighborhood of the South Bronx, around the corner from his church, the Word of Life Christian Fellowship International. The vans reserve street space for the church’s weekly food pantry.
The pantry is first come, first-served. Sometimes, Udo-Okon says, people will wait outside all night.
“We see those faces outside, and we know that hunger is real, that it’s a problem in our community,” Udo-Okon said. “These are our neighbors, and they are depending on a program like ours.”
Four days a week, the church gives away fresh vegetables, bread and other dinner staples to hundreds of South Bronx residents who can’t afford to buy everything they need on their own.
“This is our passion. Our passion is to eliminate hunger,” Udo-Okon said.