The end of the election season did not mean that Queens politicians would be sleeping on Saturday, when Borough President-Elect Melinda Katz, Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz (D-Forest Hills) and former Congressman Anthony Weiner were in Richmond Hill handing out Thanksgiving groceries at the River Fund food pantry.
Saturday’s effort resulted in the distribution of fresh produce to more than 800 families. Otto Starzmann, chief production officer for the River Fund, said it is difficult for them to gain the attention of public officials.
He said Weiner has been a regular volunteer since attending one of their events several months ago while he was campaigning for mayor, and volunteered to round up some of his past associates for the program at the Richmond Hill pantry.
“Quite frankly, we’ve found that getting officials to pay attention to the problem of poverty takes a lot of time and effort, and we’re so understaffed that we cannot sacrifice the time to do it,” Starzmann said. I guess Mr. Weiner understands our dilemma and decided to do it for us.”
Weiner, in an email to the Chronicle, said Katz, Koslowitz, Congressman Gregory Meeks (D-Queens, Nassau) and state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D-Hollis) deserve credit for their ongoing efforts to combat hunger in Queens.
“The increase in hunger, particularly among our city’s children, is one of the great and tragic unmet needs,” Weiner said. “The River Fund has been stepping up to this challenge in ways that can only be called remarkable.”