March 18, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
A group of LIC volunteers – who set up an emergency food pantry on Monday to help those in need during the coronavirus pandemic – has already seen a flood of donations come in and dozens of people looking to help out.
The group, which formed LIC Relief Covid-19 Response, are mobilizing their efforts after receiving $15,000 in donations and 60 volunteers come on board in about 48 hours, according to group founder and co-vice president of the PS/IS 78Q PTA Kelly Craig.
The real estate industry is also pitching in.
YourLIC – the developer-led group that is seeking to develop a large tract of land along the waterfront – has agreed to match all financial donations. YourLIC includes companies such as Plaxall and TF Cornerstone.
Meanwhile, Patrick W. Smith, of The Corcoran Group in Long Island City, has written out a check for a $1,000 and is marketing the charity online and at the firm’s Vernon Avenue office.
On Monday the Hunters Point Parks Conservancy teamed up with New City Church NYC and Bishop Mitchell Taylor’s Urban Upbound to open an emergency food pantry at 10-54 47th Ave.
Since Monday, the pantry has been providing meals daily from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. as well as making deliveries throughout the neighborhood.
The group has been delivering meals to the elderly in Queensbridge, Ravenswood and the Jacob Riis Settlement in Long Island City as well as Hour Children’s center in Astoria – a group that provides children’s services for incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women.
However, as the government restrictions on pubs, bars and restaurants are starting to take hold, the economic fallout is now having a knock-on effect on local families.
“We have had families come in who are not only living paycheck-to-paycheck but day-to-day. Many parents who were working in the hospitality industry now find themselves out of work and at home with kids who would ordinarily be fed at school,” Craig said.
NYC schools have been providing free “grab-and-go” meals this week but Craig expects this to end Friday so they are preparing themselves for a massive increase in demand from Monday and will provide their own free “grab-and-go” service from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Local restaurants Little Chef Little Cafe and Manducatis Rustica have already been cooking up meals for the pantry and another four restaurants – Vernon Grille, Bella Via, Piatto, and Centro Pizza Bar and Italian Kitchen – have come on board to help out.
“These restaurants are also going to provide free daily “grab-and-go” meals at their own locations from Monday between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., and this not only helps feed families but keeps people employed in restaurants,” she added.
However, the group is still appealing for financial donations to cover the meal costs and those looking to donate can do so by clicking on this link.
Other than financial donations, the group is also appealing for food donations and additional volunteers.
Non-perishable like items like canned foods, pasta, nuts, peanut butter, and sauces can be dropped off at the food pantry at 10-54 47th Ave. or at the LIC Jewish Community Center, located at 10-29 48th Ave.
Volunteers who can assist with food preparation, food collection or food distribution are encouraged to email Casey Chamberlain at [email protected] and describe how they would like to help.