Amid a season of gratitude piled high with festive celebrations for many families, for others, the holidays can just as easily be a source of lack and financial stress. To ease the hardships some Valley Stream families face in affording a Thanksgiving meal, the Valley Stream Chamber of Commerce lent a charitable hand.
Three food drives, organized by Chamber members, collected 28 bins of non-perishable food items, toiletries, and Thanksgiving fixings earlier this month. Key Food Supermarket on North Central Avenue and the C-Town grocery store on Rockaway Avenue, both member businesses, offered their space for the food drives. It was a win-win situation, noted Chamber board member Lauri LoQuerico.
“We drove business to those stores because we advertised all week on social media and a lot of people came,” said LoQuercio. “And we fulfilled our mission of giving back to the community.” All food and proceeds were donated to House of Hope at the Valley Stream Bethlehem Assembly of God and the Saint Vincent de Paul food pantry program at the Holy Name of Mary Church. The response by the community was overwhelming in just three days. LoQuercio and her team had asked for a list of needed items from the pantries and neighbors were willing to go inside the grocery markets and come out with purchased items on that list.
“We were trying to help the local community because we heard there was a need for food,” noted “We also collected money amongst ourselves and purchased 125 turkeys for families” alongside an extra $774 in donation money, more than half of which was donated by the Valley Stream Central Alumni Class of ’73.
“This was our first drive and we plan on making this the first of many throughout the year,” said LoQuercio. “We’re really making a big effort to be more visible in the community and do a lot of outreach” with more community events to come.
The Chamber was not alone in its generosity.
The Green Acres Mall, managed by Macerich, also embraced the spirit of thanksgiving by partnering with a host of non-profit and community organizations to distribute nearly 1,000 turkeys to families in need. Two giveaways were organized with regular turkeys on Nov. 15 and one that took religious dietary restrictions in mind on Nov. 16 offering halal and kosher turkeys.
The Giving Back to Community Corporation also got in on the turkey-giving efforts with a second annual Thanksgiving food drive at 31 E. Merrick Road in Valley Stream on Nov. 18. The food drive helped 50 area residents secure a turkey for the holiday this year. People were able to grab traditional frozen foods to prep such as corn, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, string beans, and green beans.