By Gabriel Rom
A Rego Park food pantry and soup kitchen that helps the homeless, among others, may soon be homeless itself.
According to Alexander Rapaport, co-founder and executive director of the Masbia network of kosher soup kitchens and food pantries, the group’s lease on its current location at 98-08 Queens Blvd. has already expired and they may be forced to vacate within the next few weeks.
“Our landlord wants to develop the site and we are really having trouble finding a new location,” Rapaport said. “We have known for a long time that at some point we would need to move.”
Rapaport pointed out that when looking for new real estate in the area, Masbia carries a certain stigma because of the service it.
“There are vacant storefronts on our block that don’t want to sell to us,” he said. “When some brokers hear that we are a food bank, they run away, they would prefer a bank. But we are trying. Everything is in flux.”
Since 2005 Masbia has served as a refuge for the city’s hungry residents who follow kosher dietary restrictions.
The non-profit, which has three locations in Brooklyn, opened in Rego Park in 2010 and now serves hot dinners five nights a week.
“Hopefully, we will never get to the point where we have to close,” Rapaport concluded.
Government funds account for less than 40 percent of Masbia’s budget, Rapaport told the TimesLedger in 2014. This included $105,000 from the City Council in fiscal year 2015. The remaining amount of Masbia’s funding comes from private donations, he added.
Reach reporter Gabriel Rom by e-mail at grom@