Queens Center mall and elected officials teamed up last week in an effort to help needy families have happier holidays.
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) joined City Council members Julissa Ferreras (D-East Elmhurst) and Daniel Dromm (D-Jackson Heights) at the mall on Dec. 22 to gather donations of food for churches, food banks and soup kitchens in their districts.
They collected canned goods, dry cereal fresh produce and other grocery staples.
Peralta said food pantries in his district have been pressed in the best of times, and that the economy makes donations more necessary that ever. He and Dromm also said some agencies are occasionally unable to keep up with increasing demand.
“We have a food and clothing bank,” said Redd Sevilla, executive director of the New Life Community Development Corp. in Elmhurst. “We give away 175,000 pounds of food each year. We have 400 people depending on us.”
Others benefitting are the Korean Evangelical Church of Queens, the First Baptist Church in Corona, La Associacion Benefica Cultural Father Billini, Transfiguration Church of Christ and Saint Leo’s Catholic Parish in Corona.
Dawn Simon, senior marketing manager for the mall, said they contacted officials as part of its community outreach efforts.
“We’d like to do this every year,” she said. “Maybe even quarterly if there is a need.”