Nine months after it was shut down by Superstorm Sandy, the Jewish Community Council of the Rockaway Peninsula’s Client Choice food center is back in business.
The center, whose output to needy area residents has tripled since the storm, was retrofitted with a $35,000 grant from the Food Bank of New York City, but the changes were mostly for the benefit of clients who can now get help on the ground floor rather than go upstairs.
“There were also minor improvements to the structure of the doors to prevent future flood damage,” Rena Resnick, a spokeswoman for the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, told The Jewish Week. The JCCRP is an affiliate of Met Council.
The October storm, which caused flooding, power outages and widespread wind damage along the East Coast, devastated the pantry’s basement and ground floor and rendered all stored food unusable.
“It comes as no surprise that particularly after the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy, the food pantry at the Jewish Community Council of the Rockaway Peninsula (JCCRP) is seeing more clients than ever before,” Nathan Krasnovsky, Executive Director of the JCCRP, said in a statement. “The JCCRP food pantry had severe damage from the storm and is now set to re-open, thanks to a grant from Food Bank.”
Elected officials gathered at the Community Council’s headquarters on July 22nd for a ribbon-cutting rededicating the center at 1525 Central Avenue, Far Rockaway.
The JCCRP says it has distributed food to 1,200 kow-income clients each month, up from 250-400 clients. It was renovated with a $35,000 grant from the Food Bank of New York City.
The new facility allows clients to sit in an air conditioned waiting room while they wait for their number to be called, making the pantry more accessible to the handicapped.
The pantry’s refrigerators, freezers and shelves are intended to look like a grocery store, minus the cash register, and the new space allows the JCCRP to offer clients other services to help them recover from the lingering impact of the storm.