Community groups team up to fight food insecurity in Woodside

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Photo by Dean Moses

Two local community groups joined forces on Wednesday to help provide much-needed food assistance to residents of the Woodside Houses.

On Wednesday, Oct. 28, Sunnyside Community Services and Queens Together hosted a rally for food security outside of the New York City Housing Authority’s Woodside Houses. The two groups aimed to both call attention to the dwindling amount of food supplies in food programs and to distribute food to those in need.

While over 1 million New York City residents were food insecure prior to the pandemic, eight months into COVID-19 in the city, the number of people unsure where their next meal will come from has greatly increased.

“When the pandemic hit in early March, we received 1,000 calls to our agency,” said Judy Zangwill, the executive director of Sunnyside Community Service. “Not only are people dealing with where their next meal is coming from, we know that they are dealing with loss, jobs and businesses decimated, and isolation.”

Community groups have stepped up during to the pandemic to provide food and economic relief to people in need. However, some of these groups have begun to see a diminished supply of food donations, according to Sunnyside Community Services and Queens Together.

“This system is now broken,” said Jonathan Forgash, the co-founder and executive director of Queens Together. “Government funding and the USDA programs are all winding down, even as the virus is still with us. The economic crisis is getting worse. Where are the elected officials? What are they doing about it right now?”

Following remarks from the organization’s leaders, the two groups distributed food to residents of Woodside Houses.

Additional reporting by Dean Moses.

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