Chazaq, Met Council celebrate grand opening of new community food pantry in Kew Gardens Hills

Ribbon-cutting with community leaders
The grand opening and ribbon cutting of the ‘Lev Aharon’ Community Food Pantry located at 141-47 72nd Ave. in Kew Gardens Hills. (Courtesy of Chazaq.)

As part of their continued efforts to help feed New Yorkers during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Chazaq and Met Council organization on Jan. 28 held a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony of the ‘Lev Aharaon’ Community Food Pantry in Kew Gardens Hills. 

The new pantry, located at 141-47 72nd Ave., will be supplied by Met Council’s citywide food distribution network and run by Chazaq staff and volunteers who are best equipped to serve families in Queens. All food distributed in the pantry is strictly kosher, free of charge and open to the public. The pantry will be open on Tuesdays, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. and is completely confidential. 

“Building a stronger future for our children is only possible if we also provide for them in the present,” said Rabbi Yaniv Meirov, CEO of Chazaq, and brainchild of the ‘Lev Aharaon’ food pantry. “Through our partnership with the Met Council, Chazaq will be able to provide reliable access to healthy, kosher food to thousands more in our community. Our seniors, our children, and anyone who is vulnerable to this pandemic should not and will not go without, this winter.”

While the crisis of hunger and poverty exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic continues, David Greenfield, CEO of Met Council, said they’re proud to partner with Chazaq to open the new food pantry in the community.  

“Rabbi Yaniv Meirov is a visionary who understands that the community that he advocates and fights for needs to have a voice – not just a spiritual voice – but a gashmiyus, physical, voice for their needs,” Greenfield said. “Food pantries are vital to supporting the struggling families, seniors, and working men and women of this city who have fewer and fewer places to turn to.”

With more New Yorkers hungry now than there have been in years, Jessica Chait, Met Council’s managing director of Food Programs, said new locations with partnerships like Chazaq are important to meet people where they are. 

“Chazaq knows their community best, and we are proud to partner with them to ensure more New Yorkers have food on the table and groceries in their pantries,” Chait said. 

Local elected officials among other community leaders were in attendance at the grand opening of the food pantry to show their support, as food insecurity was the number one issue faced by Queens residents during the crisis. 

Borough President Donovan Richards said food insecurity has been a real threat to so many Queens families for a long time.

“This threat has only been exacerbated by the pandemic, and we are grateful that the Met Council and Chazaq are helping address the problem by opening the Lev Aharon Community Food Pantry,” Richards said. 

While communities in Queens suffered last year, Rosenthal said “I can’t think of a better partnership than Met Council and Chazaq who are working to help those in need.” 

For more information on the Lev Aharaon Community Food Pantry, call Chazaq at 718-285-9132 or email events@chazaq.org.