Healthcare workers from LIJ Forest Hills volunteered at the Masbia of Queens soup kitchen and food pantry in Forest Hills on Thursday, Dec. 8, preparing more than 500 kosher meals. The prepared food was distributed across all three Masbia of Queens locations.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Jewish nonprofit has seen a 500% increase in demand for the services it provides. With inflation in the United States driving up the cost of fresh food and vegetables, Masbia of Queens’ services are needed more than ever. More than 2,000 families receive free groceries from the nonprofit’s Queens and Brooklyn sites each week.
“We do the best that we can with whatever we can,” Masbia of Queens Volunteer Coordinator Laura Allen said. “That means that given that we do rely on volunteers, the staff we do have wear various hats, often stepping in and filling the gap in other areas.”
Through volunteer work at the pantry and other similar opportunities, the hospital has been able to better connect with the communities it serves. This effort comes a month after LIJ Forest Hills nurses administered free flu shots at The Sikh Cultural Society in South Richmond Hill.
“LIJ Forest Hills cannot be just a building where health care is delivered,” LIJ Forest Hills Executive Director Lorraine Chambers Lewis, PA-C, said. “We have to get out there and meet people where they are to better understand their needs.”
Masbia of Queens offers sit-down dinner services Sundays through Thursdays from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Its food pantry operates Mondays through Fridays from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
The nonprofit provides hot, nutritious meals for hundreds of New York City residents. They work to feed the hungry and provide free, wholesome and delicious meals for people in a restaurant-style environment, with volunteer waiters serving each person with respect and dignity.