Friday, May 15, 2020
Queens Post 483 Helping to Feed Hundreds
National Commander Bill Oxford praised Rosedale-Laurelton Post 483 in Queens in a Facebook post for its soup kitchen and food pantry efforts. The post also was featured on the national American Legion website.
By The American Legion
As a member of the Veterans Advisory Committee of Southeast Queens, Rosedale-Laurelton American Legion Post 483 in Queens, N.Y., works in tandem and shares resources with other organizations in the area to provide services to both veterans and the community.
Included in those services are a soup kitchen and four food pantries – one of the latter being housed at Post 483 for the past 10 years. But what normally had been those in need coming to the post to get food has changed since the coronavirus pandemic hit New York City.
In addition to still providing food assistance at the food pantry while following proper social distancing guidelines, Post 483 has instituted a delivery service for those veterans and at-risk seniors and shut-ins who can’t themselves get to the pantry. The effort has provided more than 1,000 families with food each week.
Post 483 First Vice Commander Sharon Sweeting-Lindsey said the post was approached about providing food delivery, which was an easy question to answer.
“Of course I said yes, because that’s part of our military mandate of selfless service: to feed the community, especially during the pandemic when a lot of them cannot get out,” Sweeting-Lindsey said. “That’s where all this started.”
Sweeting-Lindsey said during the first week of the operation 35 deliveries were made. That amount doubled the following week, and two weeks later the amount was at 154.
“It is definitely growing,” Sweeting-Lindsey said. “It’s a combination of being listed on the 311 (non-emergency assistance phone number), of word of mouth – one neighbor gets it and wants to know ‘how did you get a delivery?’ – and outreach and social media.”
A combination of Post 483 Legion Family members, members of other organizations and local residents make the deliveries, which go to those in need in Far Rockaway, Jamaica, Rosedale, Laurelton, Hollis, St. Albans and Rochdale.
Post 483 Commander Lee Blackmon praised those volunteers who have given their time to deliver the food. “To me, they’re heroes,” he said. “During the time of this pandemic, a lot of people are afraid to come out of their houses. When you find a few committed to serve the community like this, I call them warriors. It’s a very courageous thing they’re doing.”
Sweeting-Lindsey said Post 483 was able to take something it already was doing, the food pantry, and adapt it to still provide assistance during the pandemic – and something it will continue to do as long as there is a need. “What we did is we enriched the program to do the home-delivery component,” she said. “(The recipients) are very grateful. Their children call us. A lot of our seniors live by themselves and their children live in Connecticut and New Jersey. We were getting calls from children to provide the services for their parents.
“It’s getting bigger and bigger, and we’re finding out the need is even greater now. Once we do it, we’re not going to backtrack on it.”