Nov. 22, 2021 By Michael Dorgan
A number of local non-profits and community groups came together in Astoria last week to distribute Thanksgiving turkeys to hundreds of families in need across Queens.
A large truck stocked with 1,000 turkeys rolled up outside the Variety Boys and Girls Club of Queens (VBGCQ) Thursday morning. Around 35 volunteers were at the 21-12 30th Rd. location to unload its contents.
The turkeys, which were packed in boxes, were then distributed by the volunteers to families in neighborhoods such as Astoria, Long Island City, Woodside, Sunnyside, Jackson Heights, Corona, East Elmhurst and Jamaica.
Organizers said that 1,000 turkeys were delivered to 1,000 families throughout the day.
“It’s been a difficult time for so many,” said Jonathan Forgash, co-founder and executive director of Queens Together, a non-profit which organized the turkey delivery. Queens Together works with restaurants and food pantries throughout the borough.
Forgash said that there was a lack of turkeys being donated to families in need this year so Queens Together stepped in to help meet the demand.
“Communities were not getting the turkey donations they would normally get this time of year,” Forgash said.
The non-profit joined forces with Kaufman Astoria Studios, Innovation QNS, Sysco Foods and TF Cornerstone to purchase the turkeys.
Queens Together organized the delivery of the turkeys Thursday while its volunteers – and volunteers from various local community groups – were on hand to distribute the turkeys to families throughout the borough.
“We teamed up and found a way to give 1,000 families a delicious Thanksgiving,” Forgash said.
Some of the groups that helped in the distribution efforts included VBGCQ, Zone126, Freemason Lodge 586, Dominico American Society of Queens and the GPK Foundation. Volunteers from Solid Rock Seventh-day Adventist Church, Rock Safe Streets, Linden & Lebanon Seventh-Day Adventist Churches and Rosedale Civic Association also took part.
Assembly Member Jessica Gonzales-Rojas, Council Member-Elect Tiffany Cabán and former Council Member Costa Constantinides also helped distribute the turkeys.
Constantinides, who is chief executive of VBGCQ, said the turkey donations demonstrated the true spirit of the Thanksgiving holiday.
“These turkeys will ensure many families celebrate their holiday with a good meal this year,” Constantinides said.
Meanwhile, Tracy Capune of Innovation QNS and Kaufman Astoria Studios, said families in Queens continue to face extraordinary challenges due to the economic fallout from COVID-19.
“People in Queens will always support each other, and we are grateful to pitch in and do what we can to help,” Capune said.
This morning Team JGR joined @QNS_Together, along with @tiffany_caban and community groups for a turkey distribution. Thank you to Jonathan Forgash for organizing, to all the volunteers, and @Costa4NY and Boys and Girls Club for hosting us! Families across Queens will benefit. pic.twitter.com/DMsvPAEwfD
— Jessica González-Rojas (@votejgr) November 18, 2021