La Jornada, a Flushing-based hunger relief organization, has partnered with Together We Can Community Resource Center, a volunteer-led nonprofit serving Corona, Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, to provide food for 1,000 families every week.
The site distributes a week’s worth of fresh and non-perishable food items to largely immigrant communities that have been affected not only by the coronavirus pandemic, but loss of employment and lack of access to government assistance.
“Providing food aid to the community during these difficult times brings me great happiness,” said Gianina Enriquez, a community organizer for the Queens Museum. “Corona is my family, and I could not be more proud that the Queens Museum is assisting those so acutely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.”
According to Pedro Rodriguez, executive director of La Jornada, 80 percent of requests in Flushing are coming from families in Corona. Rodriguez oversees a team of volunteers that distributes food to over 5,000 families.
He said most recipients are young families with kids who cannot go to work anymore.
“They were living paycheck to paycheck, and now there are no paychecks,” Rodriguez said. “We have gone from 20 to 30 new clients a week to thousands in the last three months.
“Corona is the most affected and there’s so much suffering,” he added. “This is the situation we are in right now and it’s only getting worse as more people are losing their jobs. The need is overwhelming.”
Jessica Chacha and Shannon Getzel, who co-founded Together We Can, said they’ve seen long food distribution lines as the community faces more food insecurity.
“We were compelled to organize something so families would not need to stand in long lines to be turned away without food,” they said. “The team has a strong emphasis on dignity and respect, exemplifying and embodying the resiliency and strength of immigrant New Yorkers.”