Leading elected officials visit the 200th Met Council distribution, an expansive undertaking feeding needy locals for Yom Tov

Hundreds of Pesach food packages were packed and distributed in Forest Hills this past Sunday afternoon, April 2, under the guidance of the Queens Jewish Community Council (QJCC), now entering its 55th year of service, for their annual pre-holiday distribution, a long-established resource for struggling Queens families. For the second year running, the Forest Hills Jewish Center hosted the monumental effort, feeding over 1,000 individuals, giving some 350 Queens families peace of mind ahead of Pesach. The day began early on Queens Boulevard just in front of MacDonald Park with a curbside drop off of pallets including holiday food staples: matzah, grape juice, and macaroons, as well as kosher for Passover cooking essentials like sugar, oil, and eggs that have notably skyrocketed in price. Frozen chicken and tuna were proteins provided, and produce including potatoes, onions, apples, and cabbage were all available courtesy of Met Council.

The QJCC distribution, Met Council’s 200th this Passover season, brought out David Greenfield, its CEO, alongside Aaron Cyperstein, Managing Director, Legal & External Affairs, and Benjamin Zaientz, Agency Relations Manager charged with overseeing kosher food distribution to New York City pantries.

QJCC staff and board members worked alongside dozens of hardworking volunteers transporting food parcels, and assembling the essential food items for distribution to a winding line of food impoverished locals. Amongst the volunteers were a large contingent of children from kitah vav and zayin of the hosting synagogues’ Hebrew Academy, joined by their spiritual leader, Rabbi Gerald C. Skolnik. Rabbi David Wise of Congregation Etz Hayim of Hollis Hills Bayside was a standout onsite aide. The devoted volunteers remained on hand well into the afternoon ensuring cleanliness and the transport of remaining items to the QJCC Union Turnpike headquarters where food pantry hours are regularly held.

“Each volunteer helped the event be such a success,” noted event coordinator Rabbi Mayer Waxman, Executive Director of QJCC, who was joined by his son Eitan; Michael Nussbaum, President; Judy Rosen, Vice President; and David Aronov, Arlene Ross, Alan Sherman, and Rabbi Sholom Steinig, Board Member representatives. Executive Assistant Fred Fleisher and longtime employee Marina Litman were also on hand to greet the appreciative recipients.

Special accommodation is given to the various elected officials who pitched in taking of their time to acknowledge and lend a hand to the distribution: New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and his Jewish liaison Simon Sebag of Kew Gardens Hills; Queens District Attorney Melinda Katz; Assembly Member David Weprin of District 24, and New York City Council Member Lynn Schulman of District 29, who was joined by Community Outreach Officer Pesach Osina, Director of Communications and Outreach for Jewish Affairs for New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams; Pinchus Hikind, Special Assistant to New York City Comptroller Brad Lander; Kevin Wisniewski, Senior Advisor to 28th District Assembly Member Andrew Hevesi; and Yaakov Serle, co-publisher of the Queens Jewish Link and Bukharian Jewish Link.

By Shabsie Saphirstein