Community leaders giving out free food and masks to members of the Park X Community
It is in times of need that we look to our leaders. In times of crisis that we cry out to those that have positions of power and influence in hopes of getting a little much-needed support. For some, those lamentations often fall on deaf ears, but in the borough of Park Extension, those cries have fallen on the ears of those with both the power and the influence and what more, a willingness to do good for the community they represent, instead of standing idly by, and they’re doing so at whatever cost.
Of course we’re talking about city councilwoman Mary Deros, and this week we were shown just how dedicated she and other pillars of the community are, doing everything in their power to help those citizens of Park Extension who need it most.
A community in desperate need
The food drive we attended was held on Tuesday, July 21st at Complex William Hingston. In fact they’ve been holding this food drive since March, every Tuesday, for those members of the community in need. Food, in the form of freshly baked bread, fresh fruits, vegetables and other assorted goods were given out—even donated clothing for those who needed some—to those that can’t afford even the cheapest and mundane of items during these trying times.
They even handed out free masks, and by the time we got there at around noon, they had already handed out hundreds of masks, and they’d only opened up at 11am. Those that dedicated their time started way before however … waiting for the food delivery as early as 9am or even before.
Dedication from community representatives
City Councilwoman, Mary Deros said of the drive: “It warms my heart. There’s so much need in the area. It’s thanks to Rose and her volunteers that they’re able to give this comfort and peace to these families; so that they don’t have to worry where they’re going to buy food from, when there is not enough money to do so.” She also stated that the city bought a surplus of 50,000 masks.
Rose Ndjel, director of d’Afrique au Féminin at the Women’s Center of Park Extension stated that City Councilwoman, Mary Deros goes by to help very often, checking up on them, lending all the support she possibly can. Rose also stated that they serve up to 300 citizens almost every Tuesday, which are some pretty staggering numbers indeed. So many of the community organizations in the area sent over volunteers to help as well and so many citizens of Park Extension also showed up to volunteer. “I am very happy that we are not alone,” Rose said. She said of Mary Deros: “One day she cried—even she cried, because it was too much job, she come and see ….” Essentially, Mary Deros was moved at how dedicated these members of the community were giving of themselves and so freely despite heavy workloads, and we more than understand her emotion.
Rose further told us that after she was done speaking to us, she was spearheading a delivery to over 60 elderly members of the community that couldn’t even make it to the drive; essentially handing out food from address to address. Food vouchers were of course also handed out.
Vicky Nikolakakos of the Hellenic Ladies Benevolent Society was there to lend more than a hand, giving out masks—that were hand-made and are washable—diligently and with such a dedication to keeping one and all safe from infection.
A grateful throng of people
Walking up and down the long line that wrapped up eventually towards the far end of the William Hingston building, we got a little more than overwhelmed at how many people were waiting for food and masks. When asked for comment, most kindly declined, bowing their heads, but one gentleman whose name was Navpreet stated: “There is no work … we are so thankful for this.” And really, what else can be said, as that statement really says it all.
It should be stated that not all communities are going through the hard work and pains that these few people are, and the community recognizes that.
What’s probably the most obvious yet still the most refreshing thing about this is the fact that these women, these pillars of the community, have done this when in the end, they really didn’t need to. They acted because they saw a desperate need, which is something that can’t be said about other world leaders at the helms of powerful governments the world over. They acted when others stood idly by, and we’re positive the community will never forget their hard work in these trying times. We know we certainly won’t.