This Easter, local residents experiencing food insecurity will enjoy a holiday meal thanks to the distribution of 1,000 donated hams that began at St. John’s University’s Queens, NY, campus on Tuesday, March 27.
With the help of more than 30 St. John’s student-athletes, Queens Borough President Melinda Katz, and Stop & Shop LLC, the spiral-cut hams were transferred from a Stop & Shop 18-wheel truck into vans representing a wide range of Queens-based social service organizations.
“As a Catholic and Vincentian University, St. John’s has an enduring mission to serve, and our student-athletes are committed to that mission,” said Rev. Richard Rock, C.M., Campus Minister for Athletics, in his remarks at the event. “We are delighted to do our part to help fight hunger this holiday.”
Donated by Stop & Shop, the hams will be either distributed through local food pantries, or served as part of a holiday meal at community centers in the borough.
“Queens is a borough of families—and the one thing a family should never be is hungry,” said Ms. Katz. “This is not just about giving during the holiday season; it is about giving throughout the year and making sure that we are paying attention to those with the greatest need.”
Ms. Katz participated in the transfer of the food alongside student-athletes, including junior Madeleine Watson, a defender on the St. John’s Women’s Soccer team. “It’s a remarkable opportunity to lend a hand for such a worthy cause,” said the Public Relations major from Reston, VA. “In a few days, I will be heading home for Easter, so an event like this makes you realize that not everyone is so lucky.”
According to a new report on hunger in New York from Hunger Free America, more than 234,000 adults in Queens—including one out of 12 working adults in the borough—live in households that cannot afford enough food.
Men’s Tennis player Igor Maslov, a freshman originally from Uzbekistan, was quick to volunteer for the event, as the issue of hunger is something he has witnessed throughout his life. “As an immigrant, it’s a concern that is very important to me, because I have seen its effects back home and here in the United States,” he said. “Now that I am stateside, I want to do my part to assist the local community.”
According to Fr. Rock, St. John’s student-athletes perform more than 2,500 service hours each year in the community and around the globe.
“So many people in Queens are struggling this holiday season to put a meal together for their families,” said Cindy Carrasquilla, Manager, Public Relations and Community Relations, Stop & Shop. “Hopefully, this event will make that a little bit easier for our neighbors in need.”