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‘Can Do’ against hunger

In the midst of apparent comfort, hunger is hiding in northeast Queens.
To root it out, a host of community activists and elected officials gathered in Little Neck recently, to kick off the third annual “Harmony Initiative” Food Drive by the Northeast Queens Jewish Community Council (NEQJCC).
“We want to fight hidden hunger in the community,” declared Council Chair Corey Bearak during the launch on Thursday, September 20, at the Samuel Field Y in Little Neck.
NEQJCC Executive Director Gail Eisenberg explained, “We encourage donations of unopened, non-perishable items such as baby food, beans, pasta, rice or canned food at collections points in northeast Queens,” as she gazed over a table laden with examples of foodstuffs which would make ideal donations.
Karen Ginnis, Director of Community Network for the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, an umbrella group for some 25 local charities, said, “These programs are invaluable for those who are not qualified to get food stamps, or worse yet, don’t want people to know that they need assistance.”
Ginnis pointed out that “as the population grays” many people are “land poor,” having a home worth as much as a million dollars or even more, but after paying insurance, real estate tax and utilities - can barely afford to buy food.
The 10:30 a.m. announcement, in the lobby of 58-20 Little Neck Parkway - a stone’s throw from the Nassau County border - nevertheless drew appearances and support from a host of elected officials, including State Senators Frank Padavan and Toby Stavisky, Assemblymembers Mark Weprin, Ann-Margaret Carrozza, Barbara Clark and Rory Lancman and City Councilmembers Tony Avella and James F. Gennaro.
“It’s a little misleading that they call themselves the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty,” Gennaro said. “It’s a Jewish charity, but they help with anybody’s poverty, which is why I support many of their efforts.”
William E. Rapfogel, CEO of the Metropolitan Council said that the organization “provides more than 2.5 million pounds of food to needy families every year.” Rapfogel declared, “We could not provide this service without the kindness and compassion of our dedicated citywide network of Jewish Community Councils.”
The food drive runs through October 19. For information, call Gail Eisenberg at 718-225-6750, Ext. 247, email Gail@northeastqueensjewish.org or visit their website at www. northeastqueensjewish.org.

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