At La Jornada food pantry in Flushing, Queens last Saturday, the line began forming before dawn, despite an autumn-like chill in the air. Hundreds of folding shopping carts snaked up and down several blocks. Their owners—mostly elderly Asian people and young Latin American immigrant mothers with children—huddled in doorways and under empty outdoor dining tents, chatting in small groups, trying to keep warm.
They arrived early and waited because they’re afraid La Jornada will run out of food again.
Before COVID-19 hit the city in March, La Jornada, Flushing’s largest food pantry, fed less than 1,000 families per week. Now, amid massive unemployment due to the pandemic that’ll likely remain so through the end of the year, it feeds 10,000.
Pedro Rodriguez, La Jornada’s founder and executive director, recalled the first day La Jornada reopened in March after relocating from the historic St. George’s Episcopal Church to a community center