Commonpoint Queens is combating student hunger by opening a new food pantry at Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village.
The organization opened its fourth food pantry on Dec. 15 at the school located at 230-17 Hillside Ave., where non-perishable and fresh items will be distributed in front of the building Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Van Buren is a hub for 1,247 students and their families who will now have greater access to healthy food, said Danielle Ellman, CEO of Commonpoint Queens.
“NYC public schools are more than institutions of learning. They are hubs for a wide range of services needed by students and their families to succeed,” Ellman said. “The partnership with Martin Van Buren High School will help us fulfill one of the key components of our mission: ensuring that children are healthy and ready to learn.”
Commonoint Queens’ food pantries are barrier-free, dignified spaces for people experiencing food insecurity. Clients can order their groceries using a digital system and make an appointment to pick up their package. This is a huge help to working families who do not need to take off time from work to receive their food.
According to the U.S. News & World Report, Martin Van Buren High School has a total minority enrollment of 96 percent, and 77 percent of students are economically disadvantaged. Based on these statistics, Commonpoint Queens chose to co-locate their pantry with the MVBHS campus. Alongside the high rate of poverty among the students, many families experience food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than the general population.
Steve Wilson, head of Martin Van Buren’s Alumni Alliance, said their goal was to find a mission that would reconnect their community and to overcome the suffering caused by the pandemic.
“We needed to find a way to support our most vulnerable families. That is the inspiration behind our Give Hope to Help Initiative, The MVBHS Comfort Food Cookbook and now this fabulous Food Pantry,” Wilson said.
Commonpoint Queens’ food pantry at MVBHS is made possible by the financial support from NYC office of Community Schools, Martin Van Buren High School Alumni Alliance, Next Jump, ITT Inc., Bank of America, People’s United Bank, E.W. Scripps, Henry Shein, Adecco, Amdocs and Trex — the program’s primary partners.
The MVBHS pantry is accepting donations for toiletries and personal hygiene products to continue to stock the food pantry. Monetary contributions for the expansion of the existing food pantries, purchase of commonly used spices, as well as in-kind donations of spices are also especially appreciated.
To make a donation for for Commonpoint Queens’ food initiative, visit www.commonpointqueens.org/donate or contact Judy at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To date, Commonpoint Queens has distributed over 850,000 meals to community members all across Queens and is on pace to provide approximately 1.4 million pounds of food in 2020.
The human services organization opened its Digital Food Pantry in Forest Hills in September 2017 in partnership with UJA Federation of New York and the Met Council on Jewish Poverty. They opened up a second emergency food pantry at their Tanenbaum Family Pool in Little Neck this spring as a response to the pandemic. Their third pantry opened in October 2020 at their Workforce Hub in Elmhurst.
If you or someone you know is in need of food or other critical services including benefits enrollment, employment assistance, personal or business loans, visit www.commonpointqueens.org/emergency.