Rickard Jean-Noel MSW, founder of the Real World Ministries Inc. 501(c)3 established his Feed the Homeless initiative back in December of 2018 with a vision to aid those within New York City communities facing homelessness and food insecurity.
Once able to provide and distribute 150-200 food boxes a week – with each box having the capability to feed a family of five for about four days – Jean-Noel and his supporters were making a small but significant contribution to communities in under-served neighborhoods throughout New York City.
However, since March of this year, funding for the Metro World Child program that has partnered with Real World Ministries has dried up according to Jean-Noel and he and his organization have been unable to provide the services they believe are needed within their communities.
“What I was told is that there is no longer funding for that particular program,” said Jean-Noel to amNewYork Metro on July 19. “Things have gotten hard for a lot of people – we still get calls today from people who are asking if we can deliver some food for them. But the warehouse through our partnership with Metro World Child said there was a shortage [of funding and food boxes] after March, and they wanted us to lobby and to write our local representatives to try to get more funding for that program, but until today there still hasn’t been funding.”
Jean-Noel himself has experienced poverty and grew up in a Bushwick neighborhood where he and his family often relied on services from local churches and houses of worship to get a leg up.
“Growing up in that community they always had food pantries, they always had places where you could get something to eat,” said Jean-Noel. “We always had churches that would give food stamps and WIC programs and those were programs that I was a part of as a child.”
This upbringing inspired Jean-Noel to facilitate a community within his Real World Ministries program where he could cultivate and spread word of his faith while also supporting individuals that need the most help.
Jean-Noel has encouraged supporters and members of his Real World Ministries congregation to sign petitions and to reach out to their respective representatives and local politicians in order to gain more funding to not only restore his Feed the Homeless initiative, but to expand on it.
“We have been looking for capital funding, basically a long-term contract with a government entity,” said Jean-Noel. “What we wanted to do – in regards to a holistic view – was purchase a multi-floor building. Then we could provide housing for low-income individuals and supportive housing for those with mental illnesses and [provide] substance abuse programs as well as case management.”