Masbia Soup Kitchen in Borough Park saves leftovers from farmers markets to feed food insecure people suffering from inflated grocery costs

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BOROUGH PARK, Brooklyn (WABC) — Every week, Monday through Thursday, chef Ruben Diaz prepares healthy and flavorful kosher meals at Masbia Soup Kitchen in Borough Park.

Organic zucchini and other greens donated by the Union Square Farmer’s Market are roasted for those who are food insecure.

“Now it’s very expensive in restaurants,” said chef Ruben Diaz. “So we can give high-quality food here.”

Every week, Monday through Thursday, Chef Ruben Diaz prepares healthy and flavorful kosher meals with whatever they have that day.

“We don’t know what we’re going to get the next day,” Diaz said. “So we have to be very creative to create a meal.”

Masbia operates as a soup kitchen and food pantry providing kosher meals and groceries for the community.

During COVID, when lines were deep in the hundreds and social distancing was a must, they moved to digital appointments so crowds didn’t form.

Peter, an engineer, started coming here when he and his wife lost their jobs during the shutdown.

He’s working again, but now the grocery bills have gone up about 10%.

So he comes every few months for a little help.

“I have no words to express my appreciation,” said Peter. I am grateful.”

Every customer receives a bit of everything on the table, most of which is given away, some purchased, but all offered for free.

“This is a food rescue where the company overproduced tuna sandwiches,” Diaz said, showing some of the day’s stock. “This is a leftover from the school lunch program.”

Alexander Rapaport is the executive director of Masiba and says rising grocery prices are putting a strain on everyone.

“We all feel it when we’re shopping, but especially people who go to pay check to pay check,” Rapaport said. “Limited budget, they feel it right away.”

Masiba runs three different locations and serves around 450 meals each night.

“I come here almost every day to eat,” said Philip Dolinksy. “It’s a really nice place. I’m poor. I don’t have money to buy food.”

A major problem faced by many who come to Masbia is that government food surpluses are dwindling and inflation continues to rise.

But in Masbia, they hope to close that gap, saving one farmer’s market at a time.

“We don’t waste,” Rapaport said. “We do a lot of food rescue all the time.”

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