BY GABRIELE HOLTERMANN
Honoring the legacy of civil rights activist Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., volunteers for the UJA-Federation of New York mobilized to assemble and distribute care packages for homebound seniors and single-parent households at the Commonpoint Queens Sam Field Center in Little Neck on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
Around 35 volunteers prepared 300 care packages, which included a Kosher meal of fried chicken cutlet, mashed potatoes and green beans, as well as rolls, milk and a reusable water bottle, the day before, according to Isaac Adlerstein, director of volunteer services.
Volunteers assembled the packages on MLK Day, putting them into brown paper bags, and 35 teams — many of them families – distributed the bags to food-insecure members of Commonpoint Queens’ senior centers and people in their food pantry program across Queens and parts of Nassau county.
Adlerstein expressed his gratitude toward the volunteers who came from different Queens neighborhoods for a day of service.
“All volunteers helped made today happen. Let’s put a number on it. Three hundred people would not have gotten meals,” he said.
The Goldenberg-Talbot family, who are members of the Commonpoint location in Forest Hills, felt volunteering was the right thing to do during this challenging time, and 16-year-old Nina Goldenberg expressed MLK Day was a great opportunity to help those in need.
“I’m excited, and I think it important to uplift our communities right now because there is so much going on,” she said.
Commonpoint Queens, a social services organization with locations in Forest Hills and Little Neck, has been at the forefront of delivering food to those in need during the pandemic.
The organization’s meal delivery program went from serving 500 lunches a week to delivering 15,000 meals a week during the pandemic, according to Jared Mintz, director of communications.
He attributed the large number of volunteers, 200 in all, who signed up for their various MLK events, to the attention their work has been receiving.
“The word has gotten out about the work we are doing with our food pantries,” Mintz said. “The word has been getting out as we’ve been growing and helping the community where the greatest need is.”
Commonpoint member Maria, who has volunteered in the past, came with her two children, Juliana and Christopher, to deliver care packages to those in need.
“I like helping because it makes me feel good to help others who are not as fortunate as I am,” Maria’s daughter Juliana said.