Flushing Jewish Community Council and Forest Hills Masbia donate food to federal employees during government shutdown

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With no end in sight in the partial government shutdown — now in the start of its fourth week — the Flushing Jewish Community Council and Masbia of Queens are assisting federal employees and their families with boxes of donated food items and hot dinners. 

The Flushing Jewish Community Council — located at 43-43 Bowne St. — will distribute food donations on Tuesday, Jan. 22, from 8:45 a.m. to 10 a.m. at Temple Beth Sholom at 171-39 Northern Blvd.

“We have canned fruits, canned vegetables, cereal, pasta, tuna fish, salmon,” said Paul Engel, executive director of FJCC.

FJCC’s food pantry has been serving the community for years, according to Engel.

“Mostly the people that come are Medicaid people, but I saw that there’s a food pantry in Long Island that is doing this,” said Engel. “There are people who could probably use some temporary relief, since they’re not getting paychecks and we also offer other services.”

FJCC will also be providing the following additional services to those in need: English classes, ESL/civics class, and individual, couple, family and group therapy through QLICS counseling program offered at various sites in Queens and Long Island.

Every month FJCC distributes food donations, but if people are unable to make it on Jan. 22, they can pick up their food another day, according to Engel.

The food pantry at Grace Episcopal Church — located at 14-15 Clintonville St. in Whitestone — will continue their distributions on Mondays, from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and Fridays, 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

English classes are on Mondays 6 p.m. at the East Flushing Library located at 196- 36 Northern Blvd. and Thursdays at the International Buddhist Progress Society at 154-37 Barclay Avenue at 6:15 p.m.

The ESL/civics class will start on March 5 at 5:30 p.m. at the McGoldrick Library at 155-06 Roosevelt Avenue.

At Masbia of Queens, a nonprofit soup kitchen network and food pantry — located at 105 64th Rd #47 in Forest Hills — federal employees are welcomed to pick up hot delicious meals and groceries.

“It takes time for the middle-class person without a paycheck to make the psychological switch to take charity,” said Rapaport. “I don’t think we have seen many yet but we also have a no questions ask policy.”

The soup kitchen, with two other locations in Brooklyn, is serving hot sit-in dinners including bread, beverages, soup and a main with two sides and dessert. Condiments such as pickles, ketchup, and mustard are usually available, according to Alexander Rapaport, executive director of Masbia.

“There is a variety of shelf-stable grocery items and fresh produce that is available once a week based on family size,” said Rapaport.  

The Queens facility is open five days a week serving hot dinner and grocery packages   Sunday-Thursday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Masbia of Flatbush — located at 1372 Coney Island Ave — will be serving grocery packages Sunday-Thursday from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and hot dinners from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Masbia of Boro Park — located at 5402 New Utrecht Ave– will be serving grocery packages Sunday-Thursday 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. and hot dinners Sunday-Thursday from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.


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