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Several LIC residents collect food and toys for the needy, as holiday spirit kicks in

Brent O'Leary, president of the Hunters Point Civic Association

Brent O’Leary, president of the Hunters Point Civic Association at St. Raphael’s Food Pantry

Dec. 13, 2014 By Christian Murray

Two Long Island City civic leaders stepped into action recently when they heard that a greater number of New Yorkers are likely to go hungry this Holiday Season.

Brent O’Leary, president of the Hunters Point Civic Association, and John Dallaire, who represents the LIC/Astoria Lions Club, put together a food drive and gathered more than 3,300 lbs of food—equating to about 60 boxes.

The two organizations teamed up with local grocery stores (such as Food Cellar, Urban Market in LIC and Associated in Sunnyside), which put out collection boxes. Furthermore, donation boxes were placed in several high-rise apartment buildings throughout the city.

On Thursday, O’Leary– aided by a group of volunteers–sorted through the boxes, hired a van and delivered them to Bread of Life Food Pantry in Queensbridge, The Hour Children Food Pantry in Long Island City and the St Rafael’s Food Pantry in Sunnyside.

“The generosity of the area is amazing,” O’Leary said, adding that their initial goal was 2,000 lbs. “I’m proud to be a part of a loving neighborhood that supports each other.”

Meanwhile, on Saturday, members of the 108 Police Precinct Community Council were handing out toys to children from a Queens Blvd. temporary homeless shelter.

Diane Ballek, president of the community council, said that the group had gathered more than 250 toys—with many paid for via donations from local businesses.

Furthermore, Ballek said, Gianna Cerbone-Teoli, the owner of Manducatis Rustica in Long Island City, collected dozens of toys for the event—as she was able to get plenty of people in Hunters Point to contribute.

Saturday's Precinct food drive

Saturday’s Precinct toy drive

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Anonymous visitor

I’m not trying to get into an argument about the relevance of these other minor holidays. I’m sure they mean something to the people who celebrate them. I’m merely pointing out that in a story accompanied by a photo of Santa, children with Santa hats, Christmas decorations, and the participation of Christian groups, it’s strange that the author goes out of his way to not mention Christmas. It doesn’t insult or take away from the meaning of other people’s holidays to mention it, but I think it does take away from the significance of Christmas to censure occurrences of the word. So, yeah, let’s be inclusive and use the word so many of us use for our holiday: Christmas


Because it’s not a Christmas event, it’s a holiday event, what don’t you get? There’s also Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, New Year in general.


Why can’t you just say what the “holiday” is? No one will take offense. I just find it really weird to read these kinds of stories and see how pained the authors are to avoid using the word “Christmas.” Lighten up.


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