BY GABRIELE HOLTERMANN
The Southeast Queens Empowerment Training Program hosted a community food and PPE distribution event for food-insecure community members on Thursday, Feb. 4, in Jamaica.
Yvette Greene-Dennis, the executive vice president of program management for The Crescent Companies and head of the Southeast Queens Empowerment Training Program, used her connections to get a sizable number of companies to donate food, money and volunteers for the event.
Community members began lining up at 9 a.m. outside the Thomas White Jr. Foundation parking lot, which was still covered in snow and ice after a powerful winter storm battered New York City on Monday. Hold Construction and Royal Waste Services stepped up and cleared the lot with the help of laborers and volunteers, and Greene-Dennis was more than grateful for their support.
“I’m giving full props to them. Because without them, the event would not be happening today,” Greene-Dennis said.
More than 20 volunteers handed out bread, water, sweets, frozen salmon and whitefish, and chicken to the residents of a neighborhood that was among the hardest hit by the coronavirus. One woman explained that she had lost several family members to COVID-19 and that the food drive was a lifeline for her.
For Chris Asaro, the president of Holt, the food drive was the first event of that kind he sponsored. His company normally supports the community with job placements.
“It’s a great thing,” Asaro said. “It’s what we do because we are a family-oriented company.”
Abdulla Darrat, the senior vice president at Renewal Construction Services, explained that his company has a long working relationship with the community, providing training sessions and employment.
“We donate whenever there is a need for it, whether it’s back-to-school events [or] during the holidays giving out turkeys. We look forward to staying involved with Yvette and Crescent as well as southeast Queens,” Darrat said.
Michael Duncan works with FACA Supermarket, which donated bread, chicken leg quarters and whiting fish.
“We are a community business, and the community supports us a lot. So we want to make sure that a certain percentage goes back,” he said. “Any group that asks, we always accommodate them.”
Sponsors and donors included:
- The Port Authority of NY and NY
- National Standard Abstract
- R.F. Wilkins
- Royal Waster
- Steamfitters LU638
- Law Office of Erick V. Ladson PLLC
- Glendale United Christian
- Ernie and Claire Grimes
- Herb and Marilyn Witterech
- Omni NY, LLC
- RCGA Architects
- Farnum’s Finest
- Adamah Gallery Seafood
- Posillico Construction
- Holt Construction
- First Choice Mechanical
- Highway Safety Protection Corp.
- Crescent Consulting
- The Thomas White Jr. Foundation
- Southeast Queens Empowerment Training Program
- GMA Electrical
- Schneps Media
- Zaremba Brown PLLC
- Gladberry’s Handmade
- Aqueous Solutions
- FACA Supermarket
- Connect Workshops
- Macedonia AME Church
- Afro Contracting and Demo
- Innovative Green Technologies
- Orange County Ironworks