“Our hearts are with the brave healthcare workers who are moving mountains around the clock with every single tool and resource available to save lives, as well as the workers and small business entrepreneurs struggling but who fuel Queens,” said Lee. “We continue to welcome support for these efforts to stem the tide and bend the curves of this unprecedented public health and economic crisis."
In the days since the March 29th launch of the initial week-long initiative, “Fuel the Frontlines” raised over $20,000, ranging in donations between $5 to $4,000, from numerous individual and corporate donors, including QEDC, the Queens Night Market, Blue Cross Blue Shield and mobile game app HQ Trivia.
The donations thus far provide for the extension of the original week-long initiative to run an additional two weeks through Friday, April 17, and expands the meal deliveries to seven EMS stations across Queens.
EMS workers have been overburdened in recent weeks by significant staffing shortages and a record high volume of 911 calls — reportedly more than 6,000 per day at times over the course of the public health crisis.
In the initiative’s first week between March 29 and April 3 — fully funded by the Borough President’s office — 2,000 meals were cooked and packaged by 12 local food service companies and delivered to Queens’ nine hospitals.
The meals are packaged in individual containers, refrigerated and eaten at the workers’ convenience.
During the extension, packaged meals will continue to be prepared by small businesses either enrolled in QEDC’s 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, some of whom will continue to prepare meals at Kommissary, a commercial kitchen in Long Island City.
The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey will continue to transport many of the meals to the hospitals and EMS stations.
“Fuel the Frontlines” 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 have reached historic levels over the last three weeks, with more than 792,000 claims filed in New York State and more than 16 million filed nationwide between the weeks ending March 21 and April 4, according to the federal Department of Labor.
”Our vendors have really answered the call to action, and we’ve had vendors representing Ethiopia, Poland, Jamaica, Malaysia, Antigua, Mexico and Korea, just to name a few, with many more to come with this very welcome expansion of the initiative,” said Queens Night Market founder John Wang. “We’re eager to help feed the essential workers risking their lives for all our safety, while also providing a modest but important source of income for numerous small businesses during this crisis.”
“Fuel the Frontlines” hopes to continue inspiring subsequent funding commitments from corporate and individual sponsors in order to extend or expand the initiative. To make a monetary, tax-deductible donation in support of “Fuel the Frontlines,” visit queensbp.org/fuel-the-frontlines.