As food insecurity continues to torment some of the same neighborhoods that were ravaged during the COVID-19 pandemic, Councilman Francisco Moya and his team of volunteers distributed food to 1,000 families during the Third Annual Iconic Thanksgiving Food Drive at the Park of Americas in Corona Sunday.
Together, they handed out 1,000 turkeys and 500 food boxes to those in need this holiday season.
“When we started this in 2018, we distributed 150 turkeys and we’ve increased the number since then. I grew up in Corona and I’ve seen the effects of COVID in my neighborhood, which made this year’s drive even more important,” Iconic Sports Lab Co-Founder Steve Espaillat said. “Working with networks we have in our circle, partnering with Councilman Moya and others, allows our team at Iconic Sports Lab to empower our community whether that’s with our mentorship programs or organizing food drives that are much needed during this pandemic. I am grateful for our partners and that families were able to leave with food and love.”
This Thanksgiving drive is part of several food drives ahead of the holidays that Moya is sponsoring to combat food insecurity.
“The Third Annual Iconic Thanksgiving Food Drive is an example of what community is all about. We are showing our neighborhoods that we are in this together and that means ensuring that as many families as possible have food for Thanksgiving,” Moya said. “Counting on community champions who grew up in Corona like Iconic Sports Lab’s Steve Espaillat, [NYPD] Lt. Mike Almonte and Pastor Oliencia of the State of New York Chaplain Federation, as well as having the support of community members and partners like PCNY and AG Powers, are what make important efforts like this food drive possible.”
Lt. Almonte and Espaillat started the Linden Park Project, an empowerment initiative committed to transforming the lives of youth by providing a safe haven for athletic activities and a sense of hope and pride in the community.
“The Iconic Thanksgiving Food Drive is a labor of love,” Almonte said. “We want to show kids growing up here that we are supporting them and their families, despite these challenging times.”
The following morning, Moya distributed an additional 150 turkeys in partnership with the Mason Tenders District Council PAC/Local 79 and Ideal Supermarkets outside Moya’s district office.
“Thank you to my brothers and sisters from Mason Tenders District Council PAC/Local 79 for their continued generosity and partnership,” Moya said. “I am grateful to the Laborers and to Ideal Supermarkets as we work together to combat hunger ahead and beyond the Thanksgiving holiday.”
Moya’s efforts to combat food insecurity in his district included funding for several weekly food pantries and fresh and hot meals distributions. Moya’s team also recently held turkey distribution events at the East Elmhurst branch of Queens Public Library, First Baptist Church food pantry and at Elmhurst Hospital.
“Local 79 members are thankful for everything we have and are more than happy to contribute time and food to let Queens families know that we have their back for Thanksgiving,” said Mike Prohaska, business manager of Laborers Local 79.