Queens Together, chefs team up to deliver 400 meals to NYCHA residents

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ASTORIA, Queens (WABC) -- One of New York City's larges pandemic grassroots groups teamed with chefs to provide 400 family-sized meals to NYCHA residents in Queens Thursday.

A team of volunteer cooks with Queens Together was led by Pierre Hotel Executive Chef Ashfer Biju and Farine Baking Company Pastry Chef Michael Magnano to cook, pack, and deliver the meals to NYCHA houses in Queensbridge, Ravenswood, Astoria and Woodside.

"We had all this food, which would have otherwise gone to waste, so we put together a menu which involves fresh vegetables, rice, and fish of course -- and a great peach cobbler," Biju said.

They are both Queens natives who have also seen hardship during the pandemic, now giving back to the community they love.

"Being a chef, you never should be a position where you have people around you that go hungry and don't have food," Magnano said.

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The team spent two days cooking 1,000 pounds of fish fillets and frozen peach slices to create dishes of fish and vegetables over rice with peach cobblers to deliver to the low-income families.

Catering company Neuman's Kitchen in Long Island City donated their massive kitchen for the cooking, and Fidelis Care donated five delivery vans and drivers.

Queens Together was started by Jonathan Forgash last year as he sought a way to help hurting restaurants and a feed hungry community.

"One in five children are facing hunger issues," he said. "We've helped fund or facilitate 45,000 meals to restaurants and neighbors, and we help feed over 8,000 people every week with food pantry over the summer."

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From the start of the pandemic, Queens Together has been finding ways to bridge the gap between struggling restaurants and a food insecure community, and they are always looking for volunteers.

For more information, visit QueensTogether.org.

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