Why Are Bodegas the Soul of the Neighborhood? Pepsi Honors Them For Their Hard Work

For New Yorkers, bodegas are 24/7 landmarks of each neighborhood and in 2020, amid the COVID-19 pandemic, owners rose to the task of staying open and keeping the city going during a critical time. With the holiday season looking different this year, and many staying local, Pepsi wants to do something extra special for the City’s very own and very deserving group – its bodega owners.

Pepsi, with the help of Bronx natives Desus Nice and The Kid Mero, is dropping its newest holiday campaign to spotlight, give back to, and thank bodegas for their commitment and the essential service they provide across the five boroughs, said the company in a statement.

In a recently released short film titled “The Bodega Giveback”, Pepsi brings Desus and Mero (of the renowned Bodega Boys podcast and Showtime’s Desus & Mero) to JJN Corp Deli and Grocery in the Bronx to surprise its owner Juan Valerio with the ultimate holiday gift.

The Bodega Giveback Honors Juan Valerio

On behalf of Pepsi, the two TV personalities presented Valerio with a check to help cover a full year of rent through 2021 as a show of gratitude for all he and his bodega have done for the neighborhood, especially during the difficult times the community is going through due to the pandemic.

“Bodegas are the lifeblood of the neighborhood and are central to the culture of New York. We’re children of immigrants, Juan’s story is our story, so we’re excited to work with Pepsi to be able to pay it forward and help him as he has done for so many,” said Desus Nice and The Kid Mero.

The gift presented to Valerio was the kickoff of a larger holiday giveback from Pepsi this season which includes gifting cash to bodega owners and consumers across the five New York City boroughs.

“Pepsi has so many longstanding bodega partners in New York City – they are not only pillars of the community, but they have gone above and beyond to take care of their loyal customers during the hardships of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Umi Patel, CMO of North Division, PepsiCo Beverages North America.

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“They have worked around the clock to stay open, filling shelves to ensure their customers, friends, and family have the essentials they need to stay home and stay safe. They have even shifted their businesses to meet the needs of the community, offering new delivery options, adding crucial items like masks and gloves and more, all while dealing with their own personal challenges of the pandemic. We are proud to do our part in giving back to these unsung heroes,” added Patel.

Bodegas are a cherished part of the fabric of New York City culture, as New Yorkers rely on them for everything.  From firewood to flowers, household items to a family meal, bodegas supply it all.

To encourage New Yorkers to shop at their local corner store this holiday season, and to help ease the shopping spend this year, Pepsi is surprising customers who shop at local bodegas across the five boroughs until December 20th, by gifting pre-paid credit cards of up to $100 per customer.