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Mannan Supermarkets Launches Food Insecurity Initiative

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Mannan Supermarkets, in partnership with the Zara Charitable Foundation, has launched a new initiative to confront food insecurity among children in Queens County, New York.

This comes on the heels of federal cuts to nutrition programs, mainly Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

These programs are being reduced from higher payment levels during the pandemic, causing hardship to millions on the margins. One in five children in Queens County lack reliable access to nutritious food, according to data collected by Feeding America in 2020.

Mannan food

“Many families are struggling to put food on the table and, after both SNAP and WIC resources got reduced, we knew how important it was to step up and help hardworking families maintain access to fresh, nutritious food,” said Tony Subraj, Zara Charitable Foundation.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture reported 32.1 percent of households with annual incomes below the official poverty line were food insecure in 2021.

“Food prices are increasing at the same time inflation is eating away at the value of money at the same time food benefits are vanishing, making it three times more expensive for families to afford to eat healthy,” said Mahinur Rahman, Mannan Supermarket. 

“When Zara suggested we work together to secure fresh, culturally relevant food to help people make ends meet, we were proud to supply the need.”

Zara has committed to underwrite the cost of 12 months of fresh food items from Mannan Supermarket to feed 200 families served by The Gaton Foundation, a nonprofit providing access to proper nutrition, wellness and a better well-being to people and animals in need.

The initiative began on March 1 with Mannan Supermarket in Jamaica, Queens, donating enough groceries to feed more than 200 families in need through Richmond Hills High School. This was Mannan Supermarket’s first significant donation of any kind.

The types of culturally sensitive foods supplied included: roti, lentil, tortillas, rice, cheese, butter, bread, oil, mayonnaise, crushed tomato, peanut butter and canned beans.

The provided groceries double Gaton’s food distribution efforts, feeding an estimated family of five between two weeks and a month.

According to The Gaton Foundation, receiving families are often multi-generational or part of multi-family homes where an extended number of people depend on the limited provisions and adults in the household often work multiple jobs.

With their efforts, Zara, Mannan and the Gaton Foundation seek to stir a dialogue among families, school administrators, community nonprofits, food establishments, federal, state, and local governments, and businesses from all five boroughs about how to bring community stakeholders together to address the growing food insecurity crisis. 

“Lack of access to nutritious food is a significant barrier to education, development and harms health outcomes. Hungry students often struggle to concentrate in class and struggling families turn to junk food to not starve. With healthy food options, both students and families can stay healthy and focus on succeeding in life,” said Amir Sobhraj, Zara Charitable Foundation.

For more information, visit zararealty.com/zaracharitablefoundation.

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