Corona Food Bank Cuts Ribbon in Elmhurst

4,200 Square Foot Brick-and-Mortar Food Bank Donated to Non-Profit

By Alicia Venter

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As food insecurity continues to rise in Queens, the community stepped up to open a new food bank on Corona Avenue in Elmhurst on Thursday.

The Corona Food Bank, located at 92-21 Corona Avenue, is a 4,200 square foot facility that will serve as a food collection and distribution facility for Community Center Services Organization Corp. (CCSO), a volunteer-run nonprofit organization that has distributed foods, clothes and essentials to Queens residents and asylum seekers since 2020.

The facility will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ramos (left) and Argento (center) cutting the ribbon on the new food bank.

The building was donated by Broadway Stages at a 12 month no-cost lease. Valued at over $210,000, the facility has been modified to best serve as a food distribution center.

“It’s my honor to be able to do this,” said Tony Argento, founder of Broadway Stages, at the ribbon cutting. “To donate this space to provide necessities to people who are in need. I hope other well-off people who are doing lots of business here in Elmhurst and Corona can step up and spend some money, donate some money, and make this happen for people in need.”

Broadway Stages is a film and television studio production company located primarily in North Brooklyn. The organization “take[s] pride in being a responsible neighbor, actively supporting economic, social and environmental initiatives that benefit our community,” their website states. They are based in three boroughs across the city, and have more than 100,000 square feet of green rooftop infrastructure on their studios in Brooklyn.

“Thank you so much Tony for stepping up — for being a good neighbor… and doing the right thing, growing this pantry so that we can serve the community and everyone that has been going through a really hard time,” said Jessica Ramos, State Senator for District 13, which includes Corona, Elmhurst, East Elmhurst and Jackson Heights, at the ribbon cutting.

Argento noted that it was “the persistence” of the senator who made this happen, jokingly noting that it was her calling him every week that pushed the efforts forward.

Ramos also noted that the support of Latino Bites, a restaurant at 85-14 Northern Boulevard, and the volunteers, also made this food pantry possible.

“My neighbors have been hit hard by the pandemic and rising prices. Despite the tough times we are going through, people in this community have stepped up time and time again to care for each other, and to demonstrate what it looks like to welcome new neighbors with love and compassion,” Ramos said in a press release. “I’m so grateful to the Argentos, Latino Bites, and all the volunteers who make CCSO possible. I foresee this being so much more than a food pantry. The energy around this location is going to make it a valuable community space that we can be proud of.”

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