Tag Archives: Rotary Club of Southwest Queens

Howard Beach helps ‘Stuff the Bus’ for charity

| mhayes@queenscourier.com

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.”



Southwest Rotary Club ‘stuffs’ bus for a good cause

| mchan@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Melissa Chan. The Rotary Club of Southwest Queens collected enough nonperishable foods to “stuff” this bus.

The school bus was stuffed and ready to go, only its passengers weren’t students — they were boxes of Cheerios and cans of Campbell’s soups.

During its second annual food drive on Saturday, November 5, the Rotary Club of southwest Queens parked outside of Waldbaum’s on Cross Bay Boulevard in Howard Beach for a full day of collecting nonperishable foods for a local food pantry.

The “Stuff the Bus” event took place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., when Rotary Club members were on hand to encourage shoppers to drop off bags of food or donate cash and gift certificates as they left the supermarket. All proceeds were donated to Our Lady of Grace Ministry of Care Services food pantry in Howard Beach.

Rotary Club President Frances Scarantino said the local food pantry greatly needed to be replenished.

“They’re very, very low on food to give to those who need it, especially during the holiday season,” she said. “When we go to the food pantry, we see that the shelves are empty. Our heart breaks for those people who can’t afford a basic need like food. We feel great about being able to put food on the table for them.”

Scarantino said the bus was stuffed for the second year in a row. Aside from the food collected, the Rotary Club raised $185 in cash and gift certificates.