St. John’s Episcopal Hospital staff provides Thanksgiving meals to patients in the Rockaways

St. John’s Episcopal Hospital staff donated so much Thanksgiving food for their patients that a wheelbarrow was put to use. (Photo courtesy of SJEH)

Staff members at St. John’s Episcopal Hospital in Far Rockaway got into the holiday spirit by providing more than 80 patients and their families with food items to help ensure a well-nourished Thanksgiving.

Decorated food baskets were prepared for each patient, and a large heated tent on the hospital campus was used as a grab-and-go distribution center.

The food items donated by hospital staff included turkey, chicken, ham, potatoes, rice, vegetables, stuffing mix, gravy, macaroni and cheese, dinner rolls, cranberry sauce, desserts and even utensils.

“It brings us great joy to know that we were able to make this year’s Thanksgiving both enjoyable and nourishing for more than 80 families,” St. John’s Vice President and Chief Human Resources Officer Sharika Gordon said. “We care deeply about our patients and community members, and the hospital’s staff wanted to do all they could to make sure that no one goes hungry this Thanksgiving.”

The nonprofit organization Feeding America estimates more than 50 million people across the nation experienced hunger in 2020 including 17 million children. A new study by Hunger Free America finds that one in seven New York City residents are still struggling with food insecurity during this holiday season, based on an analysis of federal data.

Photo courtesy of SJEH

The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the problem and the Far Rockaway community was one of the hardest-hit neighborhoods in the borough.

St. John’s Episcopal Hospital is the only hospital providing emergency, inpatient and ambulatory care on the Rockaway Peninsula. The 257-bed facility is celebrating more than 110 years of community care.

“For us, it is not only about providing excellent health care strictly within the confines of our hospital and community medical practices,” St. John’s Vice President of External Affairs Renee Hastick-Motes said. “We take great pride in providing needed resources within the community itself, which is what this food initiative is all about.”

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