PEPSI Teams Up With Desus & Mero To Bless New York City, Bodegas and Shoppers This Holiday

The pandemic and the effects of the pandemic on the economy, mental health and spirit of the people — especially those in underserved neighborhoods, where bodegas thrive and provide essential living items for the community — has made life even harder for bodega workers and owners.

Their stores are often the most accessible shopping spot for locals. Many of them are frustrated, unemployed and angry. Since the pandemic began and the police presence has decreased on the streets, bodega owners have been under attack. 

WATCH: Bodega Owners Say NYPD Has Abandoned Them

Every year, New York City becomes the center of the holiday season, with tourists from around the world traveling in to witness its magic and festive traditions firsthand.  With the 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. 

For New Yorkers, bodegas are 24/7 landmarks of each neighborhood and in 2020, owners rose to the task of staying open and keeping the city going during a critical time. 

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.

In a short film titled  The Bodega Giveback released this week, 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 with the ultimate holiday gift – 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 this crucial time.

“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 like he has done for so many,” said Desus Nice and The Kid Mero.

The drop of The Bodega Giveback kicks off 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.

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.

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 (and this time of year, even a Christmas tree!), household items to a family meal (and ice-cold Pepsi, of course), bodegas supply it all. 

And 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 from 12/11/2020 – 12/20/2020, by gifting pre-paid credit cards of up to $100.00 per customer.

For anyone who wants to shine a light on their local bodega, or has a heartening bodega story to share, Pepsi encourages New Yorkers to post on social platforms with #PepsiBodega, and their neighborhood bodega might be our next store to give back to this.