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Queens Food Pantries See Food Supply Depleting as Food Lines Increase

A coalition of local organizations held a rally in Woodside Wednesday to raise awareness of the impending shortages at food pantries (Queens Together)

Oct. 30, 2020 By Allie Griffin

Queens food pantries are seeing food supplies dwindle at the same time that the number of families in need of food is increasing.

Pantry organizers are calling on elected officials to act on the urgency of the situation as the city heads into its ninth month of the pandemic in which many people are without work and don’t know when their next meal will come.

A coalition of local organizations held a rally in Woodside Wednesday to raise awareness of the impending shortages at food pantries.

The organizations, which included Sunnyside Community Services and Queens Together, said food supplies are depleting as funding for food programs decreases.

Yet simultaneously, lines for food pantries and soup kitchens are only getting longer as more people are out of work due to the pandemic.

“The need is increasing whereas the resources and funding are decreasing,” said Judy Zangwill, Executive Director of Sunnyside Community Services.

The unemployment rate in Queens was at nearly 14 percent last month, according to the State Labor Department. As a result, many families are struggling to make ends meet, the rally organizers said.

Food insecurity was an existing issue for 1.2 million New York City residents before March 2020, but the pandemic has exacerbated the issue.

Many local community-based groups pivoted to food relief efforts to fill the need, while a third of existing food pantries and kitchens saw their visitors double, according to survey by the Food Bank for New York City.

“Food insecurity really came to the fore once the pandemic hit,” Zangwill said. “I would say every population we served expressed this — that they were concerned about their next meal.”

(Photo: SCS)

Now — nine months later — food pantries are running low on food supplies.

Queens Together was forced to close its food pantry due in part to running out of food. It also no longer had use of its temporary venue–the Variety Boys and Girls Club in Astoria– since the organization reopened its teen center after COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

“There’s nothing harder than getting a phone call from a parent basically realizing the food’s gone, we’re shut down for now,” said Jonathan Forgash, a former chef and co-founder of Queens Together.

“Hearing them realize that we have nothing for them and they don’t know where to turn, hearing another dad talk about that with his kids is really overwhelming and upsetting just as another human being — let alone as a father and a chef.”

Queens Together has since pivoted to connecting restaurants and others with extra food to other pantries and soup kitchens.

Forgash and fellow organizers are calling on elected officials to provide more food, more funding and more resources for Queens residents.

“What I don’t understand is where are the leaders?” Forgash said. “The system is overwhelmed. The smaller guys are shutting down for lack of support. Why isn’t there a national emergency?”

Following the rally, the organizations handed out food at the NYCHA Woodside Houses where residents waited in a long line despite the rainy weather.

Sunnyside Community Services Representative (Photo: SCS)

Sunnyside Community Services and Queens Together (Photo: SCS)

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36 Comments

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AOCU812

With incompetent fools like Duh Blasio and Don Cuomoleone at the helm, the economy will continue to plummet while taxes, unemployment and crime rates continue to climb.

Socialism worked soooooo well in Cuba and Venezuela, let’s give it a whirl here.

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Crybaby Consrvatism

AO- Trumps failed economy is in every US State not just NY. You forget to mention the successful Socialist Countries of Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Netherlands and Canada.

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jc

yes, this is sad and disheartening. It’s also the best case for a universal basic income at the federal level. This country has plenty of wealth and resources–it’s time we eliminate this type of tragedy by acknowledging that all decent human beings have a basic right to food and shelter. That’s a real pro-life stance.

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AOCshouldhelp

AOC is one of the highest profile politicians in the country. She has no problem collecting five figure checks from big tech companies (if you don’t believe it, look at her contribution records) but she can’t secure money for food banks in her area? These groups are too stupid and clueless to hold her accountable.

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Mac

The only reason AOC is such a “high profile politician” is because of pseudo news outlets like Fox and people like you who legitimize them. Go up and donate to the food bank like a decent American instead of banner waving.

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ABoondy

wait, so money doesnt grow on trees? someone has to actually pay for the food and the transportation of the food? learned something new ever day.

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Mila

In addition to outside street dining the mayor will now allow retail business stores to sell merchandise outside. A Tale of Two Cities!! Others spending money eating and shopping outside while the majority of us wait in line at food pantries.

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Nicky

According to Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, NYC crime surge is due to people ‘stealing bread to feed their children’. I guess if the food pantries run out of food and cant feed people we are all in big trouble.

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Esmeralda

The US government spends hundreds of billions of dollars on weapons, hundreds of millions of dollars on organizing revolutions around the world, but cannot provide food for poor Americans.

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Ximena

We have many who are unemployed. People who lost employment because of COVID stay at home requirements. No income = no rent = no food in home pantry or refrigerator.

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#dumpdeblasio

Lockdowns are a BIG MISTAKE from which we may never recover. Only 10% of office workers are back in Manhattan. Per Deblasio, nothing to see, let’s move on.

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Mac

No the big mistakes were dancing with the flag and calling the virus a hoax at the CPAC meeting in March. “It is what it is”. “The virus will disappear in April”. Miscalculation is definitely a much bigger mistake.

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Mac

Hashtagger- One thing the pandemic has done has shown companies that they can do the same amount of work remotely requiring less office space (commercial real estate). Property Managers in places like Midtown and Lower Manhattan will need to address these new dynamics in their business model and commercial rental schematics. This has nothing to do with so called “lockdowns” and everything to do with streamlining and costs which were realized through actions taken by companies to combat and slow the spread of the virus. According to a Bloomberg Business survey of the 25 largest commercial renters in Manhattan, all renters surveyed said they will be renewing rental agreements but at much smaller square footage. This fact seems to be lost on banner wavers.,

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Bootleg juice

This is what happened when you lock down a state. Cuomo has increased the poverty in NYS

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230k dead Americans

Yeah, we brought our infection rate below the White House’s. That’s probably why food pantries are bad…

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Terri Ann

Bootleg- The state is not locked down. This is happening in all states. I work in a restaurant and we are permitted to have inside dining. You’d be amazed how many will not sit inside not even the chill of last weekend would they sit inside. To most it’s outside or take away. If there is no demand there is no demand. Did you forget the overwhelming of the hospitals? They didn’t.,

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ABoondy

i totally agree. i dont see why we needed a lockdown. so you, your family and more than half the population dies from Covid. who cares. as crazy eddie would say, nooooobody!

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Where is AOC?

An existential issue like food security, and AOC isn’t here to miracle up some food supply, or to somehow blame the Trump administration for this?

Isn’t this “Trump’s America”, libs? Yikes!

Sunnyside conservatives – let your voices be heard.

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Where is AOC?

Hate to break it to ya but still supporting Trump at this point really disqualifies a reply.

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Marie

Close your businesses, stay at home, muzzle yourself with mask, submit to testing anywhere, allow yourself to be tracked everywhere, don’t shake hands, don’t even hug your kids, certainly don’t go to church, surrender your genome to an irreversible, DNA altering vaccine, hate and report others who don’t… and government will feed you…

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Mac

Hashtagger- Muzzle? “It is what it is”. Get people to ignore simple safety concerns is an absurdity . If you can get people like you, to believe the absurd, you can get them to believe and do anything.

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Adelaide

This breaks my heart. Hard working people who can’t get food. Food!!!! OMG. This shouldn’t be in America.

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Bertha

this breaks my heart. Poor babies💔 I feel especially bad for the children. 🤦🏽 No one should be hungry in America!!

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Jill

Its one of the few places people actually wear masks correctly because they fear someone asking them to leave.

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Rebecca Lopez

Some people go because its free. That’s how some people think. Its not anything bad and not to say that its going to waste. There are some people who really need it. But people start thinking i am also struggling to buy food and pay bills so why not go get whatever they are giving out. Also there are outreach programs that spread the word and therefore attract many other people.

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old as dirt

exactly there was recently some kind of food give away in my area..the line was over a block long but i saw at least a dozen people i know that im sure are not in that situation – greedy? jealous? leave it for the people who really need it

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Cman

Just wait till next year when the tax revenue shortfall comes from all the wealthy leaving nyc. Why pay high taxes in a crime-riden nyc? Who do you think is going to foot the bill for these programs? AOC +3 ? Good luck.

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Trump only paid $750 in taxes

Ultra-wealthy elites like Trump don’t pay taxes, what are we losing?

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