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Queens lawmaker partners with local organizations to host holiday gift drive for seniors

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(From left to right) Helen Ahn, director of Senior Center for Korean Community Services of New York, a community and gift recipient; Assemblyman Ron Kim; and Vivian Rivera Zayas, founder of Voices for Seniors. (Photo courtesy of Kim’s office)

Assemblyman Ron Kim and Voices for Seniors hosted a holiday gift drive with the Korean Community Services Center (KCS) in Flushing on Thursday, Dec. 16, bringing cheer and joy this holiday season after a long and difficult year. 

The event was created in memory of Kim’s mother, Sunhee Kim, who died from breakthrough COVID-19 in October. Working together, Kim and Voices for Seniors distributed over 300 presents to elder members and patrons of KCS.

“It’s in the giving that we receive. I am so grateful to Voices for Seniors for honoring the passing of my mother at today’s gift drive. Our partnership developed from insurmountable loss — my uncle, their family members — and now, we have an unshakeable team that is pursuing justice for nursing home victims,” said Kim, who serves as chairman of the Council’s Committee on Aging.

Voices for Seniors was founded by sisters Vivian Rivera Zayas and Alexa Rivera. The organization’s mission is to improve the quality of life for elderly communities through grassroots initiatives and advocacy for protective legislation and reform.

The sisters’ heartbreaking journey began the day their mother died unexpectedly in a Long Island nursing home.

Grief brought Kim and the sisters together in a mutual understanding. They have formed an alliance to restore nursing home patient rights, and to fight to pass transformative legislation like the Justice for Nursing Home Victims Act.

Vivian Rivera Zayas, founder of Voices for Seniors, and Assembly member Ron Kim (Photo courtesy of Kim’s office)

As Kim and the Voices for Seniors founders have suffered great losses, they understand how heartbreaking this past year has been for many other people, especially those that lost someone to COVID.

”The idea for our Christmas initiative started as a way for us to honor our parents who died of COVID in nursing homes. It is our hope that the members of Sunhee Kim’s family, including Assembly member Kim, feel some comfort by bringing some much-needed cheer to seniors this Holiday season,” Voices for Seniors said.

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