On February 11, the JCCRP accepted an award from the Food Bank of New York City designating it the best food pantry in the borough of Queens. The award was presented at the New York Marriott Marquis Times Square at the 23rd annual New York City Conference on Hunger and Poverty, bringing together leaders from the anti-hunger community, media, policymakers, New York City government, supporters, and funders to look back at the last year of progress and move forward to close the “meal gap.”
As a Food Bank member since 2002, JCCRP was chosen for its resiliency and unwavering support shown to a community devastated by Hurricane Sandy, said Dr. Camesha Grant, senior director for member services at Food Bank for New York City. JCCRP embodies the mission statement of helping meet the needs of the impoverished members of the Rockaway community. JCCRP has made 144 referrals for services and received 164 referrals from neighboring sites. The pantry distributes food two days a week and is run entirely by volunteers from the community. Prior to Sandy, the pantry served an average of 800 people monthly, but closer to 2,000 since then.
After Hurricane Sandy, Food Bank NYC gave the JCCRP a $25,000 grant, the Food Bank Capacity Grant, which was instrumental in helping renovate the pantry and turn it into an essential part of servicing this community. Additionally, Food Bank NYC is one of the JCCRP’s largest and most generous suppliers of food each month.
With today’s rising costs, making ends meet can be more than a little challenging, particularly when it comes to grocery shopping. At the JCCRP’s food pantry, clients can browse the pantry shelves and choose which food items they would like to take, mimicking real shopping experiences in supermarkets, giving the clients the dignity of choosing the grocery items that they would like to bring home for their families.
Food Bank for New York City has been the city’s major hunger-relief organization working to end hunger throughout the five boroughs for more than 30 years. Nearly one in five New Yorkers relies on Food Bank for food and other resources. Food Bank takes a strategic, multifaceted approach that provides meals and builds capacity in the neediest communities while raising awareness and engagement among all New Yorkers. Through its network of more than 1,000 charities and schools citywide, Food Bank provides food for more than 63 million free meals for New Yorkers in need.
With the help of the Food Bank NYC and the TEN Tracker system, the JCCRP is able to further service its food-pantry clients by connecting and referring them to more social services they may need. Being an all-in-one social-service agency, JCCRP staffers and volunteers have vast knowledge and access to a multitude of social-welfare programs, including the client-choice kosher pantry, career counseling, financial counseling, housing and tenant/landlord mediation, legal assistance, medical-insurance enrollment, and SNAP enrollment. JCCRP also serves as a Far Rockaway submission site for benefits. Many of JCCRP’s food-pantry clients may be in need of one or more of these assistance programs, and with the help of the Food Bank NYC and the TEN Tracker system, these clients can be properly guided in the right direction to get the services they need.
The JCCRP continues to service the community thanks to the ongoing support of the UJA-Federation of New York.
The JCCRP is located at 1525 Central Avenue (entrance on Foam Place), Far Rockaway, NY 11691. For more information, call 718-327-7755 or visit www.jccrp.org.