EAST ELMHURST, NY — Senator Jessica Ramos today announced she will distribute over 40,000 pounds of New York State-sourced food to New Yorkers in need. Furthermore, she will continue to provide 600 hot meals prepared fresh by local street vendors on Saturday. The food events are now further bolstered through a grant awarded by Hispanic Federation, which will increase the amount of food Senator Ramos can provide to her Queens district while continuing to help street vendors receive economic assistance & provide for themselves.
The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened almost all aspects of life for immigrant communities that have been historically marginalized in New York and across America. In Senator Ramos’ district, immigrants account for 60 percent of the Jackson Heights population. By comparison, immigrants make up only 14 percent of the U.S. population as a whole. Roughly 90 percent of self-employed residents in the area are immigrants, the highest amount of any of New York City’s neighborhoods.
Today, as hundreds of people line up for Senator Ramos’ food giveaway, the House is set to vote on its fifth COVID-19 relief bill, which would finally give crucial relief to immigrant communities that were previously left out. According to the National Immigration Law Center, the $3 trillion HEROES Act Relief Package would provide stimulus checks to millions of immigrant taxpayers previously left out in relief bills. It would also help those with Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and temporary protected status (TPS) gain protection from deportation and continue their ability to go to work, provide for their families, and help keep our communities running.
“Week after week, we have seen hundreds of families show up to our office on Fridays and Saturdays for our meal giveaways. It is evident that our State and Federal governments are not doing enough to ensure that our working class families, immigrants and undocumented neighbors are able to sustain themselves. Today, my peers in Congress have an opportunity to make the right choice, pass the HEROES Act and provide much-needed aid to our immigrant communities suffering in COVID-19 pandemic,” said State Senator Jessica Ramos. “We’re thankful the Hispanic Federation is able to support our team in our efforts to ensure our communities are being taken care of,”
“Hispanic Federation is proud to support Senator Ramos in this crucial initiative. Our Emergency Assistance Fund was created for this exact purpose in mind – to provide critical resources to vulnerable populations,” said Hispanic Federation President Frankie Miranda. “Although disproportionately affected by COVID-19, immigrant communities of color remain excluded from federal relief packages, socially and economically stymieing an essential part of our society. As we advocate for equitable resources for our community, we must come together and do what we can to uplift those in most need. We thank Senator Ramos for her leadership.”
In the past three weeks, Senator Ramos has distributed over 100,000 pounds of fresh produce, meat and dairy to over 2,000 New Yorkers. Additionally, she has provided 1,300 hot meals prepared fresh by local street vendors in collaboration with the Street Vendor Project. Unlike other food giveaways, Senator Ramos’ work has ensured economic relief for all people involved, from farm to fork.
Nourish New York, which joined the food program last week, will continue granting economic relief to the farmers who are providing the food for the state senator’s food giveaway. Ongoing donors include farms from across New York that already have contributed over 100,000 pounds of fresh produce and milk; Food Bank of New York City and local food pantry Elmcor which used the State’s new $25 million Nourish New York program that allows food pantries to pay the farms; and the Street Vendor Project, which has provided over 1,300 freshly made meals.
The food distribution is also made possible by donated services from Skanska, a global construction and development group whose US infrastructure business is based in East Elmhurst. The builders behind the new Terminal B at LGA and the New Kosciusko Bridge, Skanska provided a forklift in Queens to move the palettes of over 40,000 food that came from farms across New York State.
Deliveries for today’s fresh food distribution were made possible by Laborers Local 1010 and the New York State Laborers Organizing Fund, transporting close to 100 deliveries to Senate District 13 residents.