The idea that some people go to bed without a hot meal just didn’t sit right with Neil Sheehan.
“People need to eat. And helping someone eat, whether it’s with your family sitting down or with your friends or with your neighbors, it’s a gesture where people smile, they’re nourished and it creates good will,” Sheehan said.
Nourishing people’s bodies while also nourishing his native Greenpoint has always been Sheehan’s top priority.
He noticed the older population struggling as a younger one started moving in.
“In a gentrifying community, you want to interrupt this segregation by class and age,” Sheehan said.
One solution? A mobile soup kitchen called the “Angelmobile.”
It’s part of Sheehan’s non-profit “North Brooklyn Coalition of Neighbors Helping Neighbors.”
It all starts here at Our Lady of Mount Carmel church.
Volunteers prepare meals all week long.
On today’s menu is baked chicken, rice, and mixed vegetables.
Once it’s loaded on to the truck, it’s off to a set location every day – where a line of people wait for lunch.
“People stop you and tell you how important this was for them for the day. And right now all of this is being done with donated time, donated food, donated money by people who are basically saying ‘this is my community, I can do something,” Sheehan said.
Since Sheehan’s “Angelmobile” hit the road last June, volunteers have served more than 30,000 meals to people in need.
“Neil is fired by the fundamentals understanding that underneath, people are fed by community, people are fed by the feeling of being connected by one another, that these differences are superficial, they can be broken down,” said Rev. John Merz of the Church of the Ascension.
For Sheehan, it’s a step in the right direction, one meal at a time.
“I see the need and I see the gratitude in the eyes of the people that we help, or they help and the more you can make that happen, the better,” Sheehan said.
And so for feeding his community in more ways than one, Neil Sheehan is our New Yorker of the Week.