March 18, 2020, By Michel Dorgan
Several local community groups are joining together to organize emergency food deliveries for homebound residents during the coronavirus pandemic.
Volunteers from La Jornada, the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, Flushing Interfaith Council, and other community organizations are mobilizing volunteers to deliver food to the needy over the coming days and weeks ahead.
Kissena Synergy, Mel for Progress and Gutsier Living are some of the other organizations pitching in to help.
The La Jornada food pantry, located at the Bland Houses Community Center, 133-36 Roosevelt Ave., will act as a food distribution center on Thursdays and Fridays from midday to 9 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to midnight.
Organizers say they decided to take proactive measures after Mayor de Blasio warned of a potential “shelter in place” order which would confine city residents to their homes, except for essential activities.
Food deliveries will start this weekend whether there is a “shelter in place” order or not and priority will be given to those who have mobility issues, organizers say.
“Our volunteers will continue providing emergency food assistance even if our city is locked down,” Pedro Rodriguez, executive director of the La Jornada food pantry said. “However, in order to sustain this critical service, we need volunteers and money. Please help us help our community.”
As well as delivering food, volunteers will be asked to collect data on those in need in order to schedule delivery dates and times. A phone banking operation will also be streamlined to check-in with vulnerable neighbors.
“After months of government inaction, New Yorkers are realizing the only people who will save us are ourselves. That’s the impetus for today’s announcement: our community won’t let our friends and neighbors fend for themselves. We’re here to help and together, we will survive,” said John Choe, executive director of the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce.
Local political candidates are also shifting their resources to help out including Nuala O’Doherty-Naranjo – a candidate for NYS Assembly’s 34th District – who is mobilizing her campaign volunteers into community helpers.
Those wishing to volunteer are asked to apply via an online form here.
Those in need of food assistance are asked to apply via this online form.