Queens Together, a nonprofit organization that supports the restaurant community, is helping to feed 2,500 families for Thanksgiving.
On Saturday, Nov. 19, more than 100 volunteers and community groups joined Queens Together at the Variety Boys & Girls Club in Astoria to load vehicles with 1,000 turkeys, 500 fresh hams and 1,000 halal chickens to be sent to 14 food pantries across Queens.
“All throughout the week we are sending out halal chickens, turkeys and fresh hams to community food pantries from Astoria to Long Island City, Far Rockaway and Jamaica,” said Astoria resident Jonathan Forgash, founder and executive director of Queens Together.
Forgash established Queens Together in March 2020 when COVID shut down NYC. He had started the organization with others as soon as his job went remote.
The organization empowers, represents and supports the restaurant community and a “Plate It Forward” program to feed frontline workers and people facing food and economic insecurity.
“That snowballed into serving meals for restaurants to doing food pantry work and all together we have helped feed over 250,000 people during COVID,” Forgash said. “People talk about COVID ending and things getting better, but a lot of the money for food relief is gone. COVID really broke the social safety net in America and our people really need more help than ever.”
According to Forgash, small businesses are still in need of support because the owners have bills to pay from COVID, and neighbors need financial and food security help.
“A bunch of people teamed up in the worst of times to do something good and what became of it is a real organization that is now dedicated to helping small business restaurants and patterning to do work like this across the borough and I couldn’t be more proud as a human being,” Forgash said.