Local Entrepreneurs to Prepare Thousands of Meals for Workers at Queens’ Nine Hospitals

(March 26, 2020 at 5:57pm)

QUEENS, NY – Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee, the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC) and the Queens Night Market today announced a “Fuel the Frontlines” joint initiative in Queens to provide thousands of ready-to-go “home-cooked” meals for workers across the borough’s nine acute-care hospitals on the frontlines of battling the COVID-19 pandemic.

Beginning this Sunday, March 29 and fully funded by Borough President Lee, the week-long initiative aims to both support the tireless medical professionals working long, difficult hours on the frontlines, while also supporting Queens’ small businesses facing severe economic disruption stemming from social distancing measures taken to combat the public health crisis.  Unemployment claims filed last week reached historic levels, both with 80,334 claims filed in New York State and 3.28 million nationwide in the week ending March 21.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has produced two-front battles waged by heroic frontline workers and business owners,” said Borough President LEE. “’Fuel the Frontlines’ is one hyper-local yet immediate step to support those trying to stem the tide and bend the curves of this unprecedented public health and economic crisis. In this race against time, our trajectory depends entirely on not just what we do, but when we do it. All across Queens, frontline workers and medical professionals are moving mountains around the clock with extraordinary acts of heroism, using all tools and resources available to save each and every single life. Queens is deeply grateful, and we know every single minute counts.”

The meals will be prepared by small businesses either enrolled in QEDC’s innovative Entrepreneur Space (E-Space) commercial kitchen incubator in Long Island City or vendors who participate in the seasonal Queens Night Market in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.  Many of the meals will be transported to each hospital by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

“Fuel the Frontlines” hopes to inspire subsequent funding commitments from corporate and individual sponsors in order to extend or expand the initiative; potential sponsors can call 718-286-3000 or email [email protected], with the subject line “Fuel the Frontlines”.  Both QEDC and the Queens Night Market will waive any administrative costs associated with the “Fuel the Frontlines” initiative.

“I am glad our Entrepreneur Space clients are part of the effort to provide medical caregivers on the front lines with meals that will give them the sustenance to carry on and continue to protect our communities,” said Queens Economic Development Corporation Executive Director SETH BORNSTEIN.

“While we’re extremely disappointed that we won’t be opening up the Queens Night Market in April this year like originally intended, we’re committed to making a positive impact while we’re all hunkered down during this crisis,” said Queens Night Market founder JOHN WANG. “We hope this project can provide some small businesses with a modest but important stream of revenue during these challenging economic times. But most of all, we hope that our collective contributions will be matched by corporations and generous individuals who want to help out those battling this pandemic and caring for those in need on the frontlines.”

The meals — 250 per hospital — will be packaged in individual containers, and could be kept refrigerated to be heated and eaten at the workers’ convenience. Participating vendors of QEDC and Queens Night Market for the “Fuel the Frontlines” initiative include:

  1. Arepalicious of Ozone Park: www.arepalicious.com, @arepaliciousny
  2. Caribbean Street Eats: @caribbeanstreeteats
  3. Cooking with Corey: www.cookingwithcorey.com, @cookingwithcorey
  4. Dotty’s Norwegian Kitchen: www.pinkys.space, @pinkysspace
  5. KINI of Long Island City: www.eatkini.com, @kini_lic
  6. La’Maoli: @lamaoli_
  7. Magnolia Café: @magnoliacafepf
  8. The Malaysian Project: www.themalaysianproject.com, @themalaysianproject
  9. Quiaufa’s Kitchen: @chefsherriscatering
  10. Roastnco of Forest Hills: www.roastnco.com, @roastnco
  11. Treat Yourself Jerk Chicken: www.tyjerk.com
  12. Two Tablespoons: www.twotbsp.com, @twotbsp 

The “Fuel the Frontlines” initiative comes as Queens hospitals are experiencing a distressing surge of COVID-19 patients in recent days, most notably at NYC Health + Hospitals/Elmhurst, where frontline workers and medical professionals are heroically working around the clock to save precious lives.

The pandemic has highlighted the borough’s under-bedded and overburdened healthcare system even before COVID-19. Just a month ago, in its response to the Mayor’s Fiscal Year 2021 Preliminary Budget, the Queens Borough Board emphasized the “overburdened” state of hospitals in Queens:

“Queens hospitals are under-bedded and overburdened… [the borough] currently only has nine acute care hospitals serving 2.34 million residents, and the closure of four hospitals since 2008 has further strained access to healthcare. With a mere 1.66 hospital beds per 1,000 residents, Queens is by far the most under-bedded borough in the City.”

Read more here: www.queensbp.org/queens-borough-board-issues-response-to-mayors-fy2021-preliminary-budget

Follow the Office of the Queens Borough President via @QueensBP2020 on Twitter and Facebook