By Gina Martinez
The Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce is getting into the holiday spirit by feeding the less fortunate at its annual holiday community meal.
This year the chamber declared that “Immigrants & Refugees Are Welcome Here” and will prepare more than 300 meals Sunday from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. at St. George’s Church, located at 135-32 38th Ave.
Restaurateurs Danny Lye and Ivy Zheng from Danny’s Steakhouse & Oyster Bar will prepare the meals that will feed those in Flushing who otherwise might go hungry. The organizers will work with local volunteers from different civic groups, including La Jornada, which organizes a weekly food pantry.
John Choe, executive director of the chamber, said Flushing has a proud tradition of welcoming immigrants and refugees to the community.
“Our annual holiday community meal continues this tradition of embracing newcomers and helping them integrate into American society,” he said. “This annual meal as well as our coat drive during the holidays send the message that the Chamber is here to help our community.”
According to Hunger Free America, 1.2 million New Yorkers do not have enough to eat. In 2017, 40 percent of the food pantries and soup kitchens in the city did not have adequate food to meet the demand. One in every five children as well as 200,000 seniors in NewYork City live in a household that is food insecure. The federal government has proposed slashing the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as food stamps, by $192 billion, which would mostly affect children and senior citizens.
Pedro Rodriguez, founder of La Jornada food bank, said the non-profit has been serving immigrants and the poor in Flushing for the last four years and since then they have seen an incredible increase in the number of people they serve.
“It is so good to see our own chamber of commerce joining us in this fight against hunger and poverty in our community,” he said. “People like Danny Lye and Taehoon Kim show their love for the poor and needy not only with words but with actions like this dinner for our community here in Flushing.”
In addition, members of St. George’s Church, the Flushing Interfaith Council, the Hindu Temple Society, the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Queens, and other civic groups will provide food and volunteers for the community meal.
Lye said he hopes more people will participate in order to feed as many people as possible.
“With support from the Greater Flushing Chamber of Commerce, our staff and management once again have the opportunity to give back to those who are less fortunate,” he said. “I hope more business owners will join us in celebrating the spirit of Christmas and help donate food in the future, so we can feed more people.”
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart