The Astoria Worker Project and Astoria Food Pantry are now focusing on distributing the clothing to the hotels in western Queens, where migrant families are temporarily being housed.
The clothing drive — held from Oct. 11 to Oct. 27 — was organized to ensure these families would have the required necessities to get through the winter. Hundreds of articles of clothing, hygiene products and underwear were dropped off at the Astoria Food Pantry office within the first week of the drive alone.
“The generosity of the western Queens community highlights the warm welcome New Yorkers are extending to our new neighbors,” said Margaret Horning, a member of the Astoria Food Pantry.
The clothing drive was held in response to a large number of migrants coming to New York City. Since spring 2022, thousands of migrant families have been arriving regularly at the Port Authority Bus Terminal in Manhattan. Many of these families came from Venezuela.
According to Astoria Worker Project Director Noah Meixler, this drive was created in response to feedback from the community, who highlighted this as a need. Many of the migrants were sent to New York City from Texas. Consequently, most of them lacked sufficient winter clothing since they didn’t expect to be sent here. He estimated that they were able to raise between 700 and 1,000 items of clothing over the course of the two-week-long drive.
“Many of these families have been sent to New York on buses from Texas with the purpose of straining resources in cities run by Democrats,” Meixler said. “The use of human beings as political props is simply despicable. We know migrants need this program given that CBP agents have been throwing out the personal items migrants bring over the border, so we were aware that winter clothing items would be of use because of this as well.”
Some of opportunities the Astoria Worker Project offers include employment preparation skills development and certificate training, network strategies for job security, advancement and new careers, job placement, gig Economy advisement, 1099 classification, contract protection, opportunities for domestic service jobs leading to worker co-ops and small business advisement.
According to the Astoria Worker Project, the opportunities they offer can benefit the Astoria community in many ways. These include providing a workforce development structure complementary to the District 22 economic stability and advancement, providing Astoria residents with workforce security and strategies as workforce changes increase, providing an army of informed players and expressing, in basic terms, the benefits of full employment, higher wages, family security and the health of the local economy.
The Astoria Worker Project is a new initiative from the Consortium for Worker Education. Approximately 70,000 New Yorkers take part in the programs run by the Consortium for Worker Education on an annual basis. The nonprofit provides a continuum of workforce preparation, industry specific training and employment services. Among those the organization helps are dislocated workers, new Americans, incumbent union members and those approaching the workforce for the first time.
The Consortium for Worker Education provides tens of thousands of New Yorkers with access to quality, dignified careers in varied economic sectors including healthcare, construction, transportation, civil service, education and childcare, retail and tourism. This is all accomplished through its community based partnerships and initiatives, including the Astoria Worker Project.