Queens Lawmakers on the Move Nov. 16, 2020

Queens County City Council News

Meng Calls for 4th Round of Food Relief

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng

U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-Bayside, Flushing, Forest Hills, Fresh Meadows, Glendale, Kew Gardens, Maspeth, Middle Village, Rego Park) announced Friday that she led members of New York’s Congressional Delegation in a bicameral letter urging Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue to confirm the fourth round of funding for the Coronavirus Food Assistance Program’s Farmers to Families Food Box initiative will supply food assistance organizations in all counties in New York, and accept proposals for both mixed and dairy/produce/meat-only boxes. 

U.S. Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand joined her in the letter. 

The correspondence reminds Secretary Perdue of the chaos from round three funding that resulted in restrictions for food vendors to service specific boroughs and counties which left food pantries scrambling to find new partnerships with zero guidance from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), no overlap in service provisions, and nowhere to turn to for help. The letter also urges USDA to ensure that vendors can provide combination boxes and meat/dairy/produce-only boxes for pantries and food assistance groups that service those who observe kosher and halal diets.

“I’m pleased that USDA has secured funding for another round of food relief which will benefit many families in Queens and other parts of New York who are facing food insecurity. I hope the agency has learned from its previous missteps in round three funding, and will ensure the fourth-round proceeds smoothly so that families who need this critical food assistance are not harmed,” said Meng. “The evidence is clear on why this program is so critical and necessary. New York City’s food pantries have reported a massive spike in demand compared to months before the pandemic. For such a diverse city, it is important that we provide not only adequate food, but boxes that kosher and halal communities can access. I look forward to the Secretary’s response.”

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act created CFAP, a $19 billion program to help agricultural producers – who have faced a five percent or greater decline in commodity prices – access financial relief during COVID-19. The program also supports funding for USDA’s Farmers to Families Food Box Program, which allows USDA to purchase fresh produce, dairy and meat products from American producers to package into boxes that are distributed by non-profits, and faith-based and community organizations to Americans facing food insecurity. The Coronavirus Food Assistance Program’s Farmers to Families Food Box initiative is administered by the USDA.

The text of the letter to Secretary Perdue can be viewed here.

Gianaris Hosts Annual Thanksgiving Creative Program

Senator Michael Gianaris

State Senate Deputy Leader Michael Gianaris (D-Astoria, Long Island City, Sunnyside, parts of Woodside, Maspeth, Ridgewood, Woodhaven) is once again hosting his annual Thanksgiving-themed creative program, inviting young people from across western Queens to submit a creative depiction showing what they are thankful for this time of year.

“This program provides students an opportunity to reflect on the holiday season and learn to express themselves creatively,” said Gianaris. “This year has been so difficult in so many ways, this annual program is, I hope, a small sense of normal for families in our community. During these challenging times, it is important to reflect on that for which we are grateful.”

Entries are being accepted on Gianaris’ website (gianaris.nysenate.gov) from students in Kindergarten through Sixth grade. Students are encouraged to submit works of art, poems, and short stories. Entries are due by November 23.

High resolution images of the program’s poster can be downloaded here.

BP Lee Hears Briefing on Coastal Flood Resiliency

Acting Borough President Sharon Lee.

Acting Borough President and Chair of the Queens Borough Board Sharon Lee and the rest of the Queens Borough Board will hear a presentation from the New York City Department of City Planning (DCP) on its proposed Zoning for Coastal Flood Resiliency (ZCFR) text amendments. 

If adopted, the ZCFR proposal would amend the City’s Zoning Resolution in an effort to facilitate coastal resiliency, streamline post-Hurricane Sandy rebuilding and address climate-related flooding concerns.

In addition, the NYC Test & Trace Corps will brief the Borough Board on its continuing efforts to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.

This meeting will be conducted virtually, with Borough Board members participating via videoconference. The meeting will also be live-streamed to the public on the borough president’s website.

The meeting will take place on Monday, November 16 at 5:30 p.m.

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