Howard Beach helps ‘Stuff the Bus’ for charity


| mhayes@queenscourier.com |

THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes
THE COURIER/Photo by Maggie Hayes

After being knocked out by Sandy last year, the Rotary Club of Southwest Queens once again collected dozens of grocery bags filled with Thanksgiving food for the needy.

“People are being very generous,” said Joseph DiBlasi of the Rotary Club. “Some people come out with big bags.”
DiBlasi and other volunteers camped out by the Waldbaum’s on Cross Bay Boulevard on Saturday. They handed out flyers to passersby and collected item after item of donated food.

Excited donors handed over food items they bought while others contributed money and pre-wrapped gift baskets to the cause. All of the donations went to the Our Lady of Grace food pantry.

“They can only do so much over there,” DiBlasi said. “Sometimes their shelves are empty.”

While the Rotarians worked to stuff the bus, a group of young children and their parents walked up, each carrying a $1 donation.

“It was really nice,” DiBlasi said. “I don’t see a difference this year. People have always been willing to help.”

The group also put a donation bin in the Citibank right next to Waldbaum’s. That bin will stay in the Cross Bay bank branch until Thanksgiving.

DiBlasi said he and the Rotary crew could have stayed at the Waldbaum’s all day long, collecting more and more food. He estimated they stuffed the bus with about 50 filled grocery bags, and delivered the donations to Our Lady of Grace on Monday morning.

“They were thrilled. We did very well,” DiBlasi said. “You don’t realize how much you’re getting as you’re taking two or three bags [into the bus] at a time.”

 

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