Sandy Cannot Dampen Thanksgiving Spirit
By Joe Marvilli
More than two weeks after Superstorm Sandy impacted Queens, several organizations are preparing Thanksgiving meals for the less fortunate, ensuring that the devastation does not diminish the holiday spirit.
All across Queens, soup kitchens, food pantries and other charitable centers are gearing up to feed as many people as they can during Thanksgiving week. While most of these groups have given in prior years to the poor or homeless, the victims of Sandy will be given priority as well this time around.
With many people and businesses in the Rockaways, Howard Beach and Long Island City still reeling from their bouts with flooding, power loss and wind damage, the responsibility of making a decent holiday for those who cannot do so themselves is mostly in the hands of those unaffected by the storm. Although it is a great challenge, the charities are more than up to the task.
This is not the first time the AIDS Center of Queens County has helped families-in-need have a good Thanksgiving. They have been giving away holiday food for about 10 years, the same amount of time the center has had a food pantry. Located at 175-61 Hillside Ave. in Jamaica, the organization would love to give out supplies to everyone who needs them but due to budgetary constrictions, they can give to around 300 people before the well runs dry.
“It’s always higher but we can’t keep up with the demand,” Associate Executive Director Rosemary Lopez said.
Instead, the center will make do with what they have, giving out turkeys, chicken, stuffing and all the trimmings that make for a bountiful Thanksgiving meal. The food is given out every Tuesday and Thursday.
“I think it’s important that our clients in the community have the ability to sit down with the families on the holiday and share a meal with them,” Lopez said.
Corpus Christi Food Pantry in Woodside also understands the value of a good meal to raise the spirits of those in need. Although they have never put together a Thanksgiving charity program before, the organization is certainly trying its hardest to make this holiday a memorable one for those they assist.
On Nov. 18, church parishioners will come together to provide a meal for those in the area who need it. Although this is the first year such a charitable meal is being held by Corpus Christi, they are prepared to serve around 100 people.
“It’s not as much a pantry project as it is a parish project,” the Rev. Patrick West said. “We have parishioners who will be cooking turkey for those who have no one to have a holiday meal with.”
On Nov. 19, a motorcycle club will bring 125 turkeys to the pantry, who will in turn give out food baskets. Finally, the group will wrap up the holiday on Thanksgiving with a special mass at 9:30 a.m. Corpus Christi is asking people to bring bags of food, specifically non-perishables, which will then be sent to Coney Island.
“It’s an expression of concern for those who can’t provide a holiday meal for themselves and their families,” West said. “I think it’s a real good concern that’s expressed not just for the poor, but for the elderly in the neighborhood. The church exists to serve the needs of everyone in the community.”
The Corpus Christi Food Pantry is located at 31-30 61st St., Woodside.
Over in Long Island City, the Queens Economic Development Corporation is working on a potential food project in their Entrepreneur’s Space for Sandy victims. Located at 36-46 37th St., the incubator is a 5,000-square-foot commercial kitchen with space available for businesses or people to rent. The QEDC operate the space in cooperation with food industry consultant Katherine Gregory and her company Mi Kitchen Es Su Kitchen.
“Somebody who is going to make a lot of food to give out in the Rockaways and Staten Island is going to rent out the Entrepreneur Space to do the cooking and warming of already made food on the day of Thanksgiving,” Director of Public Relations Rob MacKay said. “That’s in the works because we’re not sure if she has insurance. That’s where it stands.”
While that project is not definite yet, Bethesda Missionary Baptist Church has their Turkey Day meal set and ready to go. Located at 179-09 Jamaica Ave., Jamaica, the church will have a holiday dinner on Nov. 22 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. It will be sponsored by the Healing Hands Helping Broken Hearts Foundation, a charity dedicated to speaking up for the needy.
Union United Methodist Church is also putting their best foot forward to make Thanksgiving as pleasant as possible for those who are less fortunate. Found at 126-22 150th St., Jamaica, the organization will have hot meals available on Nov. 21 between 12 p.m. and 3 p.m. They are expecting a turnout between 30 and 50 people.
Reach Reporter Joe Marvilli at (718) 357-7400, Ext. 125, or at jmarvilli@queenstribune. com.
|With so many people in need during this upcoming holiday season, any contributions that can be made are helpful. Here are some charities and organizations you can give to that will help both the hungry and victims of Superstorm Sandy.
FeedingNYC has been helping hungry families by hand-delivering Thanksgiving dinners since 2001. While the registration period for volunteers is now closed, you can still donate money to pay for a Thanksgiving box of food at http://www.feedingnyc.org/donate.php.
Food Bank for New York City is one the largest food banks in the country and works tirelessly to help end hunger in the five boroughs. If you would like to volunteer, either in general or to help with Sandy recovery efforts, go to http://volunteer. foodbanknyc.org to register. You can also help with virtual food drives, actual food drives or monetary donations at http://www.foodbanknyc.org/how-you-can-help.
New York City Rescue Mission has been providing food, clothes and shelter to the less fortunate since 1872. They are accepting donations, breaking down the amount of people your monetary contribution would help. To give, go to https://nycrescue.org/give/donate-now.
The AIDS Center of Queens County is accepting all type of donations. If you would like to give, call (718) 896-2500.