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Church packs food for neighbors in need

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Every Wednesday for the past seven months, residents of southeast Queens who have come upon hard times and struggle to put food on their tables have been helped by the Queensboro Temple Seventh-Day Adventist Church.

The Queens Village church across the street form the Long Island Metro Bus Terminal at 96-50 222nd St. provides a bag full of groceries, which includes raisins, corn meal, noodles, soup and beans to help the less fortunate make it through the week.

“The food is very important. I am the head of a household and I have five kids,” said a woman from Laurelton, who was waiting for her bag of food. “I don’t always have the money to go to the supermarket. I make use of everything I have.”

Another woman supporting herself with a cane as she waited patiently on line said the food bank helps her and her family make ends meet. She said she was unable to work due to a leg injury that has laid her up after 30 years of working.

“The bank should be for everyone in need, but a lot of people don’t know about it,” she said. “Some people have their pride and don’t want to come here, but every little bit helps.”

The church opens the door to its Fellowship Hall — a meeting and function room in the back of the building — at 11 a.m. and closes down the food bank at 1:30 p.m. or when all the food is gone. On average the food bank hands out 103 bags of goods every week.

“The food bank basically helps anyone who is less fortunate,” said the church’s pastor, Ainsworth Joseph. “The church believes in helping humanity, not just spiritual but emotional and physical well- being of our community.”

He said anyone who is in need can come to the church on Wednesday to pick up a bag of food, which is purchased through church contributions and a city food distribution center the Queensboro Temple hooked up with to provide the food bank with groceries.

The 359-member church is also in the process of setting up a soup kitchen for the southeast Queens residents, which will offer a hot meal once a week. Joseph said his church has embarked on a fund- raising drive called “Rally of the Months.” In addition, on April 15, the church opened up a computer learning center to teach people computer basics, such as Excel and Power Point, which will help them get jobs.

“People come in here according to their needs,” Joseph said. “It is a trust system. There is no foolproof way to determine if the people are in need. For the most part people are in need.”

Agnes Dey, a church member from South Ozone Park, who was handing out the bags, said the people who are coming to collect groceries and “not fortunate like us.”

She said they also take food to the people who cannot get to the church or find some one to pick up the food.

“It means a lot,” said a man waiting on line for a bag of groceries, who has three kids. “It helps me with my family. I am not working now and can’t find a job. The food helps supplement everything.”

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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