Thursday, October 21, 2010

Addabbo Helps "Feed The Children"

By Eric Yun

Many families are going hungry because of the economic downturn. The unemployment rate in Queens is 8.6 percent, and according to 2008 statistics, 12 percent of Queens residents live in poverty. Children and senior citizens are the most affected; 16.7 percent of people under 18 live in poverty and 12.8 percent of people over 65 live in poverty.

Feed The Children is a non-profit organization that delivers food, medicine, clothing and other necessities to those in need due to famine, war, poverty or natural disaster.

As part of Feed The Children’s Americans Feeding Americans Caravan, families in need receive food and other essentials. Each family was given a 25-pound box of food, a 10- pound box of personal care items such as toothbrushes and soap and a box of Avon products.

Dawn Puricelli, Head of Product Line Control with Avon North America, said the Avon boxes were provided to help empower women and give them self-confidence.

For the New York City events, Feed The Children teamed up with Rep. Charles Rangel and distributed boxes for 2,800 families in Harlem. In Queens, Senator Joe Addabbo (D-Howard Beach) hosted the event to help 1,200 families at the George Seuffert Sr. Band Shell.

Addabbo worked closely with local food pantries and soup kitchens like the Ridgewood Older Adult Center and the Elohim Community Development Center in Richmond Hill to identify families in need and distribute the 1,200 vouchers needed to receive food from the event.

Tony Sellars, Director of Communications at Feed The Children, said it was essential that local agencies work as the “foot soldiers” to identify those in need. The local agencies have an intimate knowledge of the area, allowing them to eliminate the guesswork of who should receive support.

Sellars stressed that hunger is not confined to just one region or ethnicity. Hunger is a “border to border and coast to coast” problem. “It’s up to us as individuals and as a community to help,” said Sellars.

According to Addabbo, there has been a 106 percent increase in meals served since 2006, and there are more than 80,000 households unable to get food. Addabbo said he was glad to sponsor the event to “raise awareness of people in need,” and to “do what we can to help people.”

Raising awareness to the hunger problem is one of the major philosophies of Feed The Children. There is often shame associated with living in poverty, and Sellars and Addabbo want those in need to understand it is okay to ask for help.

There were volunteers from many local areas including students from P.S. 254 in Richmond Hill. The kids helped hand out boxes to the families in need.

“We were talking about giving back to the community,” said Naomi Drouillard, Principal of P.S. 254. “We wanted the children to experience giving back. It’s something they’ll never forget.”

Including the New York City event, Feed The Children has helped close to 160,000 families in need throughout the country. The goal by the end of the year is to feed 200,000 families.

No comments: