La Jornada and Together We Can Community Resource Center Inc’s food pantry at the Queens Museum (courtesy the Queens Museum)

Queens, the New York City borough hit hardest by the COVID-19 pandemic, was described during the peak of the outbreak as the “epicenter of the epicenter.” In addition to the devastating loss of lives, the disease has left many families in the area, especially immigrant communities in the Corona neighborhood, suffering from food insecurity due to rising unemployment and inadequate access to government assistance. The Queens Museum, located among these struggling communities, has stepped in to help by hosting a food pantry run by the nonprofits La Jornada and Together We Can Community Resource Center Inc.

Open every Wednesday since June 17, the pantry is designed to serve 1,000 families weekly, distributing a week’s worth of fresh and nonperishable food items. According to the museum, the pantry served 200 families the first week, which was a “soft launch,” and 850 families the second week.

Volunteers delivering meals for New York City’s hardest-hit communities during the coronavirus pandemic (courtesy the Queens Museum)

La Jornada is a Queens-based pantry distributing food to over 5,000 families in the Flushing neighborhood. “We have gone from 20-30 new clients a week to thousands in the last three months,” said Pedro Rodriguez, La Jornada’s executive director, in a press release. “80% of my requests in Flushing are coming from people in Corona impacted by COVID-19 who have lost their businesses and livelihoods. They were living paycheck to paycheck and now there are no paychecks. […] The need is overwhelming.”

The food bank service, which is limited to people living in the 11368 zip code, requires registration at Individuals who are interested in volunteering or making a donation can find more information here.

Hakim Bishara is a Senior Editor at Hyperallergic. He is also a co-director at Soloway Gallery, an artist-run space in Brooklyn. Bishara is a recipient of the 2019 Andy Warhol Foundation and Creative Capital...