Nov. 18, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
Sunnyside Shines is raising funds to support two local food pantries that will feed hundreds of families in need throughout the holiday season.
The Business Improvement District launched an online fundraiser Wednesday to help the Mosaic Food Pantry on 43rd Avenue in Sunnyside and the “Manos Que Dan Reciben Benediciones” pantry on 62nd Street in Woodside.
The fundraiser will run through Dec. 27 and Sunnyside Shines is aiming to raise $20,000 which will go towards purchasing grocery items and toys for struggling families this holiday season.
Jaime-Faye Bean, the director of Sunnyside Shines, said the food pantries are a lifeline to residents who have suffered financial hardship during the coronavirus lockdowns. She said that many of the families that use the pantries are not entitled to aid from federal programs and are desperate.
“With work still scarce and COVID-19 on the rise again these families have to worry every day about when and where their next meal will come,” Bean said.
Bean said that Sunnyside Shines is using a locally-developed website called “Recause” to facilitate the fundraiser which does not charge service fees.
“We thought it was great to be able to use a local platform developed by someone who really cares about our community,” notes Bean, “and it gave our Board of Directors the opportunity to step forward with a match.”
The first $2,500 raised will be matched by Sunnyside Shines through contributions made by Cooper Realty, LIC Building, Lynch Funeral Home, the Queens Post, and Triad Management. An additional $500 in gift certificates for Fresh n’ Save supermarkets is also being contributed.
Bean said that all of the money donated will be evenly split between both pantries. She said that the pantries collectively feed more than 1,000 families per week.
The fundraiser comes at a time when the pantries are struggling to keep up with demand, according to Sofia Moncayo, one of the co-founders and coordinator at the Mosaic Food Pantry.
Moncayo said that the pantries still do not have enough money to feed everyone in need despite the best efforts of residents who have been making contributions all year.
“It’s heartbreaking to have to turn people away when we know how little they are going home to,” Moncayo said.
The holiday season will bring more stress on parents this year and so some of the money raised will go towards purchasing toys for children, according to Luis Gaguancela, who founded the Manos Que Dan Reciben Benediciones pantry.
“We really want to go beyond providing food and make sure every family is able to enjoy a real holiday meal and create special memories for their children,” Gaguancela said.