By Leon Suseran
A massive Ukraine Relief Effort was held in front of the Living Word Christian Fellowship church in Ozone Park on March 19th.
The initiative was sponsored by the Ozone Park Residents Block Association(OPRBA), NY State Assembylwoman Stacey Pheffer Amato; Ozone Park-Howard Beach- Woodhaven Lion’s Club; Assemblyman Mike Miller; and co-sponsored by Kiwanis of Ozone Park; South Beach Civic Association; Our Neighbors Civic Association of Ozone Park; Howard Beach Civilian Patrol; NYC Queens Community Board 9; among numerous other groups and organizations.
When this newspaper turned up on the day, the area was a hub of activity. Volunteers were busy organizing, sorting, arranging, packing and wrapping the items onto pallets after which they were rolled on to trucks for transport to the warehouse from where they would be shipped to the Ukraine.
At the time of the relief effort, the Russia-Ukrainian war had entered its 5th week with no end in sight. Over 3.5 million refugees have been displaced in countries such as Moldavia, Poland, Belarus, etc while Putin’s army continued the shelling of Ukraine.
President of the Ozone Park Block Association, Sam Esposito thanked the numerous organizations that sponsored the event. “We wanna thank the community that came out today ….we are absolutely humbled by the number of people that are showing up with their cars and the amount of people dropping off stuff as we speak.”
“We are humbled by the people that came out today with their generosity and we want everybody to know that we thank them and we appreciate this. We also want to thank our Assemblywoman Pheffer Amato, Councilman Robert Holden’s office for coming here and Bella Matthias for being heavily involved in working with us and making sure this event goes off. We want to thank the community as a whole …we thank Staten Island for coming together and doing this and joining us in our effort…this has been an amazing and humbling experience for us.”
Esposito went on to thank the schools that also participated in the venture. He thanked the media for helping to document and “showing the world what we’re doing”, that they’ve come together for the people of Ukraine. The OPRBA also prayed for peace and an ending to this war also. He did not rule out doing another event like this again.
Members of the public dropped off relief items including water, food, masks, feminine care products, medical supplies, baby wipes, baby food, pet food, toiletries, blankets, clothing wheelchairs, walkers, crutches, etc and they were all packed up to be sent to our brothers and sisters who need them most in the Ukraine.