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Commonpoint Queens Opens Fourth Food Pantry at Martin Van Buren HS

Dawn Rafal | December 23, 2020

Commonpoint Queens – formerly known as the Samuel Field Y and Central Queens Y – opened its fourth food pantry colocated at Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village on December 15, 2020.

Commonpoint Queens is trying to combat student hunger by introducing a new food pantry within the Martin Van Buren High School in Queens Village. Food distributions will be made in front of the school building, Tuesday – Thursday from 9:00 am – 2:30 pm.

The Food Pantry will provide non-perishable and fresh items to students, their families, and neighborhood residents, thanks to the help of the NYC Office of Community Schools, Martin Van Buren High School Alumni Alliance, Next Jump, ITT Inc., Bank of America, People’s United Bank, E.W. Scripps, Henry Schein, Adecco, Amdocs, and Trex—the program’s primary partners.

Commonoint Queens’ food pantries are barrier-free, dignified spaces for people experiencing food insecurity. Clients can order their groceries using a digital system and make an appointment to pick-up their package. This is a huge help to working families who now do not need to take off time from work to receive their food.

“NYC public schools are more than institutions of learning. They are hubs for a wide range of services needed by students and their families to succeed,” said Danielle Ellman, CEO of Commonpoint Queens. “The partnership with Martin Van Buren High School will help us fulfill one of the key components of our mission: ensuring that children are healthy and ready to learn. Van Buren is a hub for 1,247 students and their families who will now have greater access to healthy food.”

According to the U.S. News & World Report, Martin Van Buren High School has a total minority enrollment of 96%, and 77% of students are economically disadvantaged. Knowing these statistics, Commonpoint Queens chose to co*locate this pantry with the MVBHS campus. Alongside the high rate of poverty among the students, many families experience food insecurity at a significantly higher rate than the general population.

Steve Wilson, head of Martin Van Buren’s Alumni Alliance said, “our goal was to find a mission that would reconnect our community and to overcome the suffering caused by the pandemic. We needed to find a way to support our most vulnerable families. That is the inspiration behind our Give Hope to Help Initiative, The MVBHS Comfort Food Cookbook, and now this fabulous Food Pantry”.

The MVBHS pantry is accepting donations for toiletries and personal hygiene products to continue to stock the Food Pantry. Monetary contributions for the expansion of the existing food pantries, purchase of commonly used spices, as well as in-kind donations of spices are also especially appreciated. If you would like to make a donation for Commonpoint Queens’ food initiative, please visit www.commonpointqueens.org/donate or contact Judy at [email protected]org.

To date, Commonpoint Queens has distributed over 850,000 meals to community members all across Queens and is on pace to provide approximately 1.4 million pounds of food in 2020. The human services organization opened its Digital Food Pantry in Forest Hills in September 2017 in partnership with UJA Federation of New York and the Met Council on Jewish Poverty, they opened up a second emergency food pantry at their Tanenbaum Family Pool in Little Neck this Spring as a response to the pandemic. Their third pantry opened in October 2020 at their Workforce Hub in Elmhurst, Queens.

If you or someone you know is in need of food or other critical services including benefits enrollment, employment assistance, personal or business loans, visit www.commonpointqueens.org/emergency.

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More About Commonpoint Queens

Commonpoint Queens is a social services organization that meets the diverse and evolving needs in the borough of Queens —a place where people of all ages and backgrounds come together to find support, access opportunities, and build connections to the community throughout their lives. To learn more, go to www.commonpointqueens.org.