April 5, 2022 By Czarinna Andres
More than 32 pallets of essential items collected by a number of Queens elected officials, businesses and non-profits have arrived in Ukraine.
The goods were gathered during a supply drive spearheaded by Council Members Robert Holden and James Gennaro that were originally going to be shipped to Rzeszow, a Polish city near the Ukrainian border.
However, with the assistance of the Polish Consul General, the president of Rzeszow and Kiev Mayor—and former heavyweight boxer—Vitali Klitschkothe, organizers of the drive were able to ship the goods directly to Kiev.
“It’s great to hear that these supplies arrived directly and safely where they’re needed most: the Ukrainian capital of Kiev,” Holden said in a statement. “While just a drop in the bucket of all the aid being sent from around the world, it’s a testament to the generosity and determination of the people of Queens. I thank all who donated and got this done.”
More than half of the borough’s Council delegation participated in the drive. Holden and Gennaro got the help of Council Members Vickie Paladino, Selvena Brooks-Powers, Linda Lee, Nantasha Williams, Sandra Ung and Francisco Moya.
They all helped collect donations of canned food, clothing, sealed pet food, toiletries, first-aid kits, children’s toys and other items.
Meanwhile, Associazione Culturale Italiana Di New York covered the costs of shipping the items. Tony Di Piazza of Federazione Italo-Americana Di Brooklyn and Queens also sponsored the drive.
“It was an honor to help organize this drive, which yielded many useful donations to the people of Ukraine,” Gennaro said in a statement. “This was a large-scale, joint effort that could not happen without the help of our partners. I’d like to thank Council Member Holden for helping us coordinate the drive, the Queens Delegation, Tony Di Piazza, as well as the several groups and individuals who have turned this vision into a reality. I would also like to thank the many people who came out to donate to this great cause.”
There was a total of 25 sponsors for the drive, assisting with logistics ranging from transport to outreach to financial assistance. The long list of sponsors also included the ECS Globe Air, WAW Humanitarian Goods, Fucsia Fitzgerald Nissoli, Ficalora Family Foundation, the CHAZAQ Organization, Chaverim of Queens, New York Community Bank, Maspeth Federal Savings Bank, Cross County Savings Bank, Webster Bank, Richmond County Savings Foundation, Seka Moving Company and Comm. Joseph Ficalora.