Jul. 12, 2023 By Ethan Marshall
Flushing Councilwoman Sandra Ung presented a City Council Citation to St. Michael’s Church food pantry coordinator Nilda Tirado on July 11. Tirado founded the food pantry 22 years ago and has seen it grow immensely over the years.
“For over two decades, Nilda Tirado has been feeding needy and food-insecure individuals and families through the food pantry she created at St. Michael’s,” Ung said. “Countless people have benefited from her dedication to giving back to her local community. I was happy we were able to take a moment to recognize Nilda’s hard work and commitment to serving others.”
When Tirado first created the food pantry, it was providing 15 families in the area with food. Now, almost 1,700 families from across northern Queens are benefiting from the food pantry each month. Each day, approximately 200 families are served by this food pantry. According to the church, about 90% of those being served are Asian Americans.
Throughout the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Tirado’s food pantry was active in assisting families. Over the course of the first five months of the pandemic, the food pantry served around 9,000 families.
The food pantry operates out of the basement of St. Michael’s Rectory, located at 136-76 41st Ave. in Flushing. Its hours of operation are from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m. every Tuesday and Wednesday. Pre-registration is required to be served. In addition to providing those in need with food at the pantry, volunteers also distribute ready-to-eat packaged food to homeless individuals in the area.
Food drives from local schools and other parishes help to keep the food pantry stocked. This is also made possible thanks to various sources of funding, including from Catholic Charities and the Food Bank of New York.
Ung was also able to allocate almost $21,000 to the food pantry in last year’s budget.
The St. Michael’s food pantry will be partnering with Catholic Charities to provide free assistance to people interested in applying for SNAP and other food assistance programs on July 26 from 9 to 11 a.m.