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BY BENJAMIN MANDILE

“Fuel the Frontlines,” a Queens-based initiative to feed hospital workers in Queens, will bring pre-cooked meals to those working to fight the coronavirus. 

The joint-initiative organized by the Queens borough president’s office, Entrepreneur Space and Queens Night Market will deliver thousands of meals over the course of a week starting Sunday, March 29. 

A total of 250 meals, which can be refrigerated and eaten at workers’ convenience, will be delivered to each hospital and will be packaged individually.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has produced two-front battles waged by heroic frontline workers and business owners,” said acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee. “‘Fuel the Frontlines’ is one hyper-local yet immediate step to support those trying to stem the tide and bend the curves of this unprecedented public health and economic crisis.”

Meals will be prepared by small businesses either enrolled in the Queens Economic Development Corporation’s Entrepreneur Space or the Queens Night Market, with many meals being delivered by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey to local hospitals. 

Participating vendors of QEDC and Queens Night Market initiative include the following:

By using local businesses, the initiative strives to help not only those working in hospitals, but also small businesses, many of which are struggling during this pandemic. Unemployment claims filed last week were historic, with about 80,000 claims filed in New York state and 3.28 million nationwide in the week ending March 21. 

The initiative comes at a time when Queens hospitals, most notably NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, are facing a surge in the amount of COVID-19 cases coming through their doors. 

Queens hospitals are currently “under-bedded” with 1.66 beds per 1,000 residents and nine acute care hospitals serving 2.34 million residents, according to a fiscal year budget response sent to Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office. 

“Queens is by far the most under-bedded borough in the city,” Lee wrote in the Queens Borough Board’s response to the mayor’s fiscal year 2021 preliminary budget. 

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