Faith-based food safety? New York church may face eviction after health violations found in food pantry

A South Bronx church known for its food drives is facing eviction yet again in the wake of a city inspection that found unsanitary conditions in its food pantry.

wordoflife_image_food_pantry-600x450The Department of Health and Mental Hygiene inspected the pantry at Word of Life International Church on April 17 and found evidence of fresh rat droppings, spoiled food and holes in the ceiling where rodents could enter, according to an agency spokesman.

“Despite Word of Life having more than a week to clean their facility in anticipation of an inspection, the DOHMH found that conditions were unsanitary and unsafe,” said Jonathan Stenger, spokesman for The Osborne Association, the church’s landlord. “Osborne has worked as a not-for-profit agency in this community for 25 years and believes that our neighbors deserve safe and hygienic food.”

Osborne has terminated the church’s lease and is proceeding to evict Word of Life as its tenant after the church refused to let Osborne inspect the building’s facilities, going against its lease, Stenger said.