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Courtesy GatewayJFK
GatewayJFK executive director Scott Grimm-Lyon (r.) joins frontline workers at Jamaica Hospital after delivering hundreds of meals.

GatewayJFK, the business improvement district in southeast Queens, recently sent 745 meals from neighborhood restaurants to frontline workers at Jamaica Hospital, the MTA, the Department of Sanitation, Wildcat Sanitation Services, the NYPD and the Port Authority Police Department.

In addition to donating meals as a way to say “thank you” to the frontline workers, GatewayJFK launched the effort as a way to help local restaurants open and keep their staff working.

To provide the meals, GatewayJFK partnered with five anchor restaurants in their neighborhood” Rockaway Plaza Delicatessen, New Castle Deli & Grocery, Boulevard Deli & Grill, Patriots Deli & Grill, and Jamaica FlavorsRestaurant and Bakery. 

“Before COVID-19 our neighborhood had 8,000 workers, but with the stay-at-home orders in effect, we became concerned that our restaurants would have trouble staying in business until things got back to normal,” GatewayJFK Executive Director Scott Grimm-Lyon said. “Having great places to go for lunch is key to attracting businesses to the area, and an important amenity for building a community for both residents and workers.”

GatewayJFK got the idea after they saw similar efforts by the Sunnyside Shines BID last month. GatewayJFK is a public/private partnership that is dedicated to making a 215-acre commercial and industrial district along Rockaway Boulevard a clean and safe space to live in, work in and invest in.

“Donating meals seemed like a great way to make sure our local restaurants stayed in the black, and to offer gratitude to people putting their health at risk and working very hard through this crisis,” Grimm-Lyon said.

More than 400 meals went to workers at Jamaica Hospital. In addition to hospital workers, GatewayJFK made a special effort to say thank you and donate meals to frontline workers who have not taken center stage during the coronavirus pandemic.

“Our workers signed up to help the city, and we’re proud to serve so thanks are not necessary, but it’s nice to be seen and appreciated,” DSNY Queens 13 Superintendent John Addeo said. 

PAPD Lt. John Ryan also said his staff was happy to be included on the list of frontline workers, and John Hein of the MTA JFK bus depot thanked the BID for remembering and recognizing them. In addition to sending meals to frontline workers, GatewayJFK has provided direct outreach to more than 350  businesses in their district and offered assistance in navigating government grants and assistance programs.

If you are a business owner in southeast Queens and require assistance, visit the GatewayJFK website.

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