The South Bronx remains the heart of the poorest congressional district in the nation. Yet by the start of 2020, the commercial strips of The Hub, Southern Boulevard and Third Avenue were bustling, construction cranes dotted the horizon and unemployment stood at 5.7 percent.

The biggest concern for many longtime residents was that new luxury apartment complexes would raise rents so high they would be pushed out.

All of that has changed. Bronx residents have contracted the virus at the highest rates in the city and have suffered more deaths, per capita, than any other borough. Locally owned businesses have been shuttered, with thousands of job losses.

South Bronx businesses, nonprofits, civic groups and individuals are stepping into the breach.

Prodigal Center volunteers distribute groceries and supplies in Hunts Point.

Acknowledging everyone on the front lines would take volumes. We hope this sampling will provide a glimpse into the breadth of neighborhood networks and individuals working to hold the South Bronx together, even as essential workers who live there are keeping New York City going.

They are all Bronx heroes.


Ariadna Phillips volunteers with Frontline Strong Relief— a project founded by her sister Mirelle—that provides resources to medical workers.