Cold Enough but Not Enough

February 11, 2008 at 9:19 pm 4 comments

This weather calls to mind all sorts of comparisons to icy places, like Alaska, the arctic, and hell. Surely it would be the latter local if we lacked the necessary clothing and calories to endure these harsh winds and temperatures.

images2.jpegIn one of the most under-reported stories of the year (the sorry luck of this being an election year), food pantries of New York are in dire need of donations—canned and boxed goods, all with still-good expirations dates. Winter-warm clothing is in demand too, because as this blog has pointed out, people remain hungry and cold long after the pine needles on your Christmas tree have fallen off and you’ve hauled the thing out for mulching.

The Queens Courier reported on this back on January 3:

A November report released by the New York City Coalition Against Hunger (NYCCAH), showed that demand was up at more than 80 percent of charitable food pantries and soup kitchens in the borough. Meanwhile, 67 percent of charities surveyed said their lack of resources has forced them to either turn away customers or slash operating hours in the past year.

Predictably, back in November everyone came forward with donations—in the spirit of generosity and probably guilt, too, because when do we eat and buy more for ourselves than during the period between Thanksgiving and New Years? But as a few have pointed out, this is not just a holiday-time problem but a year-round one. Thus giving needs to be ongoing rather than holiday-specific. Food pantries and homeless shelters (as well as many senior centers) are reliant on donations from schools, churches, and people like you and me.

  • The Reform Temple of Forest Hills has food drive going on now, with food and clothing donations going to a local shelter.
  • Forest Hills Jewish Center has an ongoing food drive, with its collections going to City Harvest.
  • St. Lukes has an outreach program that partners with the Queens Community House, which runs too many community service programs to mention here, but supplies food to the needy. You can also reach the Community House directly: contact Dennis Redmond at or 718-592-5757 x223.
  • Garden School in Jackson Heights had a Nov/Dec food drive, but upon becoming aware of this post-Jan 1 problem, has begun instituting a weekly food collection/delivery to a local Salvation Army. According to one parent there, it was a matter of a few phone calls and some fliers to alert students and parents that a continuous food drive is underway. Why can’t all the local schools do this?
  • The Queens Tribune lists many of Queens’ food pantries. Hey, it starts with a few phone calls.
  • NY Cares’ coat drive is over but the .org is collecting money to fund the project. And local Salvation Army’s are always looking for gently worn clothing.

If you know of any other food or clothing drives, please comment about them.


Entry filed under: community, Do Gooding, Forest Hills, volunteering.

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4 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Anne  |  February 12, 2008 at 11:31 am

    I was humbled when I read this post, as I have always had enough to eat. And I thought back to those who originally occupied this country before it was one and the hardships endured by them and the original European settlers. A poignant comparison between those days and now can be found in the custom of naming full moons. Native American tribes kept track of the seasons by giving distinctive names to each recurring moon. Since the heaviest snow usually falls during this month, native tribes of the north and east most often called February’s full moon the Full Snow Moon. Some tribes also referred to this Moon as the Full Hunger Moon, since harsh weather conditions in their areas made hunting very difficult. So perhaps when we see a full moon, particularly this month on the 20th, it will be a visual cue of how hard some lives were and still are.

  • 2. karbeth  |  February 12, 2008 at 1:26 pm

    Thanks for such a great thought on this topic. The imagery really adds to what should be on people’s minds. I hate to use “should,” but in this case, it seems appropriate.

  • 3. inforesthills  |  February 13, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    The Church-in- the-Gardens, 50 Ascan Avenue, collects food on an ongoing basis throughout the year. Donations are taken to the Jamaica Food Pantry. Fundraising events are held throughout the year through it’s World Service Committee to help feed the hungry. An annual coat drive is organized by its boy scouts each winter. Currently an old eyeglass collection is also being taken for villages in Peru.

  • 4. karbeth  |  February 13, 2008 at 10:07 pm

    “inforesthills”: Many people are looking for ways to give but just can’t find them. Your sum-up of what Church in the Gardens is doing is greatly appreciated.


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