March 25, 2020, By Michael Dorgan
A newly-formed Long Island City relief group has raised $36,000 and is now supplying almost 3,000 meals per week to residents who are undergoing economic hardship as a result of the coronavirus.
The group, called the LIC Community COVID-19 Relief Group, began distributing food to the neighborhood 10 days ago but has significantly ramped up its operations in recent days as donations of time and money have come flooding in.
The group, which has about 180 volunteers, is using the funds to pay local restaurants to cook meals for those facing hard times. The idea is to help the restaurants earn some money while taking care of those in need by paying restaurants $5 per meal provided.
The group has enlisted seven local restaurants – Little Chef Little Kitchen, Piatto, Bella Via, Vernon Grille, Manetta’s, Centro Italian Kitchen and Bareburger – to each cook between 30 and 75 meals per day. Collectively, these restaurants will provide 2,965 meals this week alone.
The bulk of the meals prepared by the restaurants are delivered to the residents of Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Astoria Houses, and Woodside Houses. Food deliveries are also being made to Hour Children and Bread of Life.
Residents in need of a free meal can also go to any of the restaurants–with the exception Bareburger– between noon and 2 p.m. and get a free “grab-and-go” lunch, according to group co-founder and co-vice president of the PS/IS 78Q PTA Kelly Craig.
The group is operating out of the Plaxall Gallery, located at 5-25 46th Ave., where it is accepting canned goods and other non-perishable items that will supply local food pantries and be available for residents in need.
The facility will be open on weekdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. to take food donations. Residents in need can pick up items at the facility during those hours too.
LIC Relief was originally operating out of offices belonging to New City Church at 10-54 47th Ave. but ran out of room. Plaxall has now come on board and provided a much bigger space and, according to a source, has made a $10,000 anonymous donation.
The group was founded early last week when Craig teamed up with New City Church NYC, led by Pastor Patrick Thompson. They then brought on the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy, led by Rob Basch, and Urban Upbound to help.
The group has been so successful they are helping a group in Sunnyside/Woodside get started and are providing them with a roadmap on how to help businesses and those in need.
However, the Long Island City group still is in need of funds and is asking people to donate.
All donations are being matched by YourLIC – a developer-led group that is seeking to build on a large tract of land along the Long Island City waterfront. The group includes Plaxall, TF Cornerstone, Simon Baron Development, and L&L Mag.
Drivers are also needed and shifts begin at 11:45 a.m. and 2:45 p.m. daily. Volunteers are asked to sign up by clicking on this website or email [email protected].