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Volunteers at Sunnyside Food Pantry Receive Award from International Non-Profit

Mosaic Food Pantry volunteers received their award on Nov. 12, 2020 (Image provided by Brent O’ Leary)

Nov. 20, 2020 By Michael Dorgan

The organizers of a Sunnyside food pantry – where hundreds of residents in need receive free grocery items each week – have been recognized by an international non-profit organization.

Several of the organizers, who operate the Mosaic Food Pantry on 43rd Avenue, were named recipients of the Neighborhood Everyday Hero Award last week by the Kiwanis International Queens West Division for providing food to struggling residents throughout the pandemic.

The award recognizes people who have gone above and beyond the call of duty to help residents during the COVID-19 shutdowns without expecting anything in return.

The Mosaic Food Pantry, which operates out of the Mosaic Church Office, located at 46-01 43rd Ave., was established in March by civic organizers Brent O’Leary and church leader Pastor Dan Sadlier. The pair set up the pantry to tackle food insecurity within the community as the coronavirus shutdowns took hold.

The pantry has grown in size and now serves around 1,400 people each week. The pantry operates every Monday and Thursday from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Residents in need have been able to pick up a wide variety of food items from the pantry such as canned food, fruit, vegetables, pasta, and prepackaged goods. Other items include baby diapers and infant formula.

Some of the stocked food at the Mosaic Food Pantry (Image by Michael Dorgan)

Howard Brickman, the president of the Kiwanis Sunnyside Chapter, nominated the founders of the pantry for the award along with Rut Ostos and Sofia Moncayo who manage it.

Volunteers Lucy Bodden and Jimmy Canarozzi, the owner of Uncle Jimmy’s Pizzeria, were also nominated for regularly donating food to the pantry.

Kiwanis International Queens West Division then selected each member of the group as a recipient of the award and Brickman presented them with individual certificates at the food pantry on Nov. 12.

Brickman said all five were deserving of the award since they have been a lifeline to people who have fallen on hard times.

“Throughout the year I would see long lines of people waiting outside the church for food and it touched my heart emotionally,” Brickman said.

Brent O’Leary (Michael Dorgan, Queens Post)

“They are incredible volunteers and without them, hundreds of people in our community would go hungry,” he said.

Brickman noted that they not only handed out food during their spare time but they also helped raise money and sourced food donations.

The pantry is subsidized through financial donations and food contributions made by local businesses and residents. The pantry also receives large deliveries of perishable food items each week via a USDA grant that was secured by O’Leary.

O‘Leary, however, was quick to praise the efforts of the volunteer team and said he was pleased that they have been recognized for their efforts.

“I am truly amazed at the countless hours these selfless volunteers give of themselves running and organizing the food pantry. They are superhuman,” O’Leary said.

“I am happy that Kiwanis International has recognized their tremendous efforts to keep our food-insecure neighbors fed during this pandemic,” he said.

O’Leary said that the pantry is always seeking monetary and food donations and the holiday season can be a particularly challenging time for parents.

He asked people to make financial contributions by clicking on this link. Then, under the giving tab, choose “COVID-19 Sunnyside Woodside Food Distribution” on the dropdown menu.

Food donations can also be dropped off at the church.

People lining up along 46th Street last May for the Mosaic Food Pantry (Image by Michael Dorgan)

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I hope all these articles are archived so one day the next generation can look them up and read about all the good that took place in Sunnyside during the pandemic. I thought 911 was the only tragedy i would live through and tell my grandkids about but then came coronavirus. Thank you volunteers and may god bless you.

Anna Rojas

I hope these acts of kindness create a ripple effect throughout Sunnyside. Many poor and starving people and families can use it the help.


How much money did they get or did they just get a piece of paper. Most of the volunteers don’t have a job so they can volunteer. I have to work. Hey, has anyone seen Rick Duro. The rumours circulating at the dog park is that he has or had covid, Can anyone verify?

Sara Ross

Congratulations to all of those selfless and caring people. That’s wonderful and it’s nice to see people helping other people during this time instead of all of the crime we’re seeing of people stealing and hurting other people. Bravo.


Hope the volunteers have a chance to go out and celebrate before the bars and restaurants close in NYC.


Awards are nice to look at. But a cash reward or a couple of cooked Turkey’s to give to the struggling and hungry residents of Sunnyside would of been better.

In support of heros

Umm, what? Recognition of these local Heros is the point of the award. This story will drive donations – way more than the couple of turkeys you mention.


Very good recognition. A well deserve award. I’m surprised that JVB didn’t run to jump in on the picture, because we all know how much he loves a good photo opportunity.


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