Many residents in Queens are at risk of starving, but more than 30 boxes of emergency meals were left on the side of an underpass in Middle Village Monday.
The boxes were piled on top of each other along a wall near the Queens Midtown Expressway. A sticker on the boxes labeled GetFood NYC said the boxes were packed July 26 and were to be delivered by July 31.
Councilman Bob Holden (D-Middle Village) called the incident “inexcusable” and demanded a “thorough investigation” from City Hall.
“This is absolutely inexcusable, no matter how this food got here,” he said. “So many New Yorkers have been desperate for a little extra food to help them get by during this pandemic, so it’s unfathomable to see perfectly good meals go to waste like this.”
An unopened meal box had Pepperidge Farm goldfish with a sandwich and a granola bar.
The city’s Sanitation Department is responsible for transporting the food.
“This is unacceptable and no driver will be paid for incomplete deliveries,” a DSNY spokesperson said, adding that they distributed over 100 million free emergency meals adding anyone who misses a delivery should go to nyc.gov/getfood or call 311.
From the photos given, DSNY was unable to identify the intended recipients but called several dozen households in the area to see if food was delivered, according to DSNY.
If someone said he or she didn’t receive the food, it would be redelivered and DSNY would know which driver was responsible.
“It’s supposed to go to people,” area resident Sue Purcarin told the New York Post Monday. “This is horrible. Somebody didn’t want to do their job, and they decided, ‘OK, let me just dump it here.’”
Resident Juan Heno told the Post, “Why wouldn’t you give it to people in the streets?” adding “The city has a lot of homeless right now.”
It was Heno who saw the boxes in the morning and called 311, according to the Post. He said he was told someone would pick them up, though the boxes were still there more than eight hours later.