March 30, 2023 By Michael Dorgan
City Councilwoman Julie Won helped to organize a donation drive for migrants held on March 26 that brought in more than 50 large bags of clothing, shoes and other essentials.
The event, called Sunnyside Swap, was held at Won’s district office in Long Island City with hundreds of local residents contributing items. Residents could also trade or swap items.
The purpose of the event was to help recently arrived migrants settle into the country by providing them with essential items such as clothes, working home goods, as well as toys and art materials. Donations recived by the swap are also distributed to homeless services, local non-profits and charities.
After the event, Won and volunteers delivered the bags to Evangel Food Pantry, a food pantry located at 39-21 Crescent St.
Volunteers at the pantry then distributed the donations to migrants and asylum seekers housed at various shelters throughout Won’s 26th District, which covers Long Island City, Sunnyside, Astoria, and Woodside.
Won said she is empathetic to immigrants who have moved to America in search of a better life, given she immigrated here from South Korea as a child.
“As an immigrant, I know firsthand the challenges of moving to a new home and making sure you have everything you need to thrive,” Won said. “Happy that our newly arrived neighbors living in shelters will have clothes, shoes and other essentials because of our community. Thank you to everyone who generously donated items, as well as the volunteers of the Sunnyside Swap.”
The Sunnyside Swap was founded by Rose L. Moon and Bonnibel Fonbuena in 2016. In subsequent years, Nancy Bommer and Lizette B. Suxo joined the team and kept the Sunnyside Swap going at the local library and at St. Teresa’s church before expanding to Julie Won’s council office.
Together, the Sunnyside Swap team and Julie Won’s team successfully restarted a neighborhood tradition that had been dormant for 3 years. The Sunnyside Swap typically happens twice a year.
After hosting Sunnyside Swap at our district office this weekend, my team dropped off extra donations of clothes, shoes, home items, toys, and more to Evangel Food Pantry, which will distribute donations to migrants, and refugees in our local shelters. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/juvdO7tv7K
— Council Member Julie Won (@CMJulieWon) March 27, 2023