Members of Queens Together and restaurant owners across the borough gathered at Nangma Restaurant in Elmhurst on Wednesday, March 1, to celebrate the beginning of Eats in Queens Restaurant Month. In total, more than 185 restaurants across Queens are taking part in the event, with around three dozen organizations sponsoring it, including QNS, The Queens Courier, Queens Post, Jamaica Times, Flushing Times and Bayside Times.
By donating $25 to Queens Together, people will receive a discount pass to all participating restaurants throughout the month. The donations will go toward food relief for individuals and families in need. Those with the pass will have unlimited use of it throughout the month.
According to Queens Together Executive Director and Co-Founder John Forgash, the donation amount of $25 was chosen because that is typically the cost to get groceries or purchase a meal for a family of four. Therefore, each donation would be enough to feed a family.
“These generous restaurants made it possible by offering people a small discount in exchange for a small donation,” Forgash said. “Restaurant Month offers a big result for everyone. The restaurants get business and promotion; we raise lots of money for food relief; and people get to do good, eat good and give back by supporting.”
Also on hand for the celebration was Chuck Park, the chief of staff for Councilman Shekar Krishnan. Park voiced Krishnan’s support of Eats in Queens Restaurant Month.
According to Loycent Gordon, whose restaurant, Neir’s Tavern, is participating in Eats in Queens Restaurant Month, this event reflects the important role these businesses play to their communities. He credited Queens Together for coming up with this way of bringing the community together to them while also raising money for a great cause.
“[It’s great] to have an organization to bring it all together like Queens Together and for us to back it up is incredible,” Gordon said. “This goes to show that Queens is not an isolated area. It’s really a place where people come to connect. It is truly the melting pot of New York City. I’m really happy to be a part of this.”
Queens Together has frequently assisted in bringing meals to the First Baptist Church of East Elmhurst’s food pantry. Not only did the organization provide food for the homeless and those in need, but a variety of food was provided based on different cultures, reflecting the diversity of Queens.
Michael Fuquay, owner of the Queensboro Restaurant in Jackson Heights, discussed how the organization assisted in efforts to give back to the frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to Fuquay, Forgash came up with the idea of raising money to pay local restaurants during the pandemic to feed these workers. This helped save local restaurants while also giving back to healthcare workers.
For Forgash and Queens Together, this is just the latest effort made to give back to the community while also supporting local businesses. With so many restaurants already signed up for Eats in Queens Restaurant Month, he hopes to make this an annual event.
According to Forgash, approximately $19,000 in donations has already been raised. He hopes to raise another $10,000 to $20,000. People will be able to make the donations throughout the year, even if they miss out on receiving the pass for Eats in Queens Restaurant Month.
Those interested in signing up to receive a pass for Eats in Queens Restaurant Month and making donations for the cause can do so on Queens Together’s website, queenstogether.org.