First Corinthian Baptist Church, New Lt. Governor Benjamin And DC 9 Host Hope For Harlem

August 30, 2021

Yesterday, First Corinthian Baptist Church, New York State Senator and newly appointed Lieutenant-Governor Brian Benjamin, and District Council 9 hosted Hope for Harlem.

An annual relief event was created to provide the Harlem community with essential items and opportunities. The event amassed thousands of donations including groceries, hygiene products, and back-to-school supplies gifted to thousands of Harlem residents and families.

The event, which served as a block party, also distributed COVID-19 vaccines to residents who have not received one yet in an effort to keep communities safe and healthy. Additionally, the event provided Harlem residents with employment opportunities as well as physical and mental health resources.

The Hope for Harlem initiative takes a holistic approach to serve the community, focusing on the mind, body, and soul of Harlem’s residents. Last year’s event successfully gifted over 2,000 care packages and registered hundreds to vote and complete the census.

While unique challenges brought on by COVID-19, including scarcity of basic resources and reduced in-person interactions, threatened Harlem, community leaders delivered basic needs while urging political involvement. The event is further proof of what can be achieved when our community looks out for one another; local organizations, faith-based institutions, political leaders, and businesses all benefit when we come together to protect and serve our neighbors.

“Our servitude is to the community,” said Heaven Berhane, Pastor of Programming & Community Engagement. “As our late pastor Reverend Thomas H. McKinzie, Sr. said, FCBC is more than bricks and glass presenting an image of heaven. We’re a safe haven, guiding and providing for our neighbors, and playing a critical role in their lives. We’re grateful to work alongside District Council 9 and State Senator Brian Benjamin to give back to the community that has guided our purpose for years.”

“As the State works toward a post-pandemic era while struggling with new variants, it is vital that local communities know they can lean on one another for support. Harlem is my home; its residents depend on me and local leaders to lead them through difficult times. Thanks to District Council 9 and First Corinthian Baptist Church, and the care of the community, we’re able to help our most vulnerable residents stay afloat,” said New York State Senator and newly appointed Lieutenant-Governor Brian Benjamin.

“As a union, we go above and beyond for our members, but our dedication to promoting equal opportunity goes beyond those in hard hats,” said Joseph Azzopardi, BM/ST of District Council 9. “Ensuring that the communities where we live and work are cared for is foundational to our success. The Hope for Harlem event, in partnership with First Corinthian Baptist Church and NYS Senator Brian Benjamin, allows the community to work together as one forming an equitable, resilient society.”

First Corinthian Baptist Church (FCBC), located in Harlem, was first organized in 1933. FCBC is an ever-evolving community of visionaries, dreamers, and doers who have been called by God to live the lives they were created to live; commanded by God to love beyond the limits of our prejudices, and commissioned by God to serve.

The Church is focused on providing a sanctuary for Harlem’s residents in the forms of art, theater, and music, as well as providing resources to its members for leadership development, economic empowerment, and mental health support.

New York State Senator and newly appointed Lieutenant-Governor Brian represent the 30th District, composed of Harlem, East Harlem, the Upper West Side, Washington Heights, Hamilton Heights, and Morningside Heights.

District Council 9 is a chapter of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, an organization of painters, decorators, wall coverers, drywall finishers, sign painters, metal polishers, bridge & structural steel painters, civil service painters, lead abatement workers, glaziers & architectural metal glassworkers, paint makers and allied trades.

The International Union of Painters and Allied Trades is dedicated to securing and improving wages, benefits, and overall working conditions for its members.

For more information on DC 9’s continuing efforts to provide pathways to the middle class for New York’s residents visit

Photo credit: 12-) DC 9 Members Celebrate Hope for Harlem Event with Elected Officials such as NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio and newly appointed Lieutenant-Governor Brian Benjamin.

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