The Iglesia Biblica Restauracion soup kitchen in Sunnyside got an early Christmas present in the form of a $5,000 check from Target that will provide 25,000 meals for local residents.
“Target has always felt it was very important to give back to the communities that they service,” said John McCourt, an Assets Protection Business Partner in the Greater New York City area for Target. “We have two stores in Queens with plans to continue to expand in the city so it certainly makes sense to be a part of it.”
For the past eight years, Reverend Jorge Chang and his wife Virgitta have been running the soup kitchen, which serves lunch and gives out pantry food bags to needy residents on Saturdays. Virgitta, who is the interim pastor, said that, during the past year, more and more people are coming to the soup kitchen – with some days seeing as many as 150 people.
“When you see people, they are so full of thanks, because really, many, many people are homeless and they need this food,” Virgitta said.
The $5,000 gift came about after a representative from Target contacted Queens Congressmember Joseph Crowley’s office asking him for a recommendation of a non-profit group in his district that would benefit from the gift. Crowley, who had volunteered to serve meals at the soup kitchen last summer, knew that a new sink was needed at the facility and that the soup kitchen would be seeing an increased need during the winter months and holiday season.
“Even through difficult times, people are shopping and doing their Christmas giving, and I hope other corporations like Target will follow this lead and do the same thing,” Crowley said.
The Iglesia Biblica Restauracion soup kitchen is one of approximately 1,000 food assistance programs run by the Food Bank for New York City, the city’s major hunger-relief organization, working to end food poverty in all five boroughs.
“When two entities come together – corporation and government – great things indeed do happen as we see every day at Iglesia Biblica Restauracion,” said Carlos Rodriguez, Vice President of Agency Relations and Benefit Access at Food Bank for New York City.