Queens Borough President, 100 Suits, Cross-Borough Partners Announce Summer Youth Employment Initiative

Youth preparing meals inside Forestdale’s teaching kitchen, to be delivered to Queens seniors. (Photo courtesy of 100 Suits for 100 Men)

100 Suits’ “Senior Deliveries and Culinary Program” Provides Summer Jobs for Local Teens, Freshly-Prepared Meals for Queens Seniors While Sharpening Skills

QUEENS, NY – Acting Queens Borough President Sharon Lee and 100 Suits for 100 Men (“100 Suits”), together with key partners and leaders, today announced the launch of 100 Suits’ “Senior Deliveries and Culinary Program” Youth Initiative — a summer-long program employing local teenagers to prepare freshly-made, nutritious meals and deliver to area seniors.

The initiative kicked off on July 1 and runs through the first week of September, and is designed to teach team building, culinary skills, financial literacy, time management, organizational and operational skills, and more.

The cross-borough partnership has provided paid employment opportunities to several youth from across Southeast Queens, ages 15 to 19, in the form of preparing 140 healthy meals each Wednesday. The meals are then delivered by the participating youth on Thursdays to seniors throughout Southeast Queens, with approximately 100-110 of the meals to seniors specifically in Rochdale Village. The participating youth and their parents also meet remotely every Friday to discuss the past and following work week, as well as engage with guest speakers about various topics such as financial literacy and more.

“This cross-borough partnership to provide employment opportunities and life lessons for our youth, while helping feed seniors in need, represents the best of Queens,” said Borough President LEE. “We are deeply grateful to all the partners responsible for bringing such a creative program to life.”

“We are very excited to have this great partnership, but most of all provide opportunities for our young people in our community,” said 100 Suits Founder KEVIN LIVINGSTON. “This is a clear example of the community creating its own opportunities, and that’s what we’ve done here with our partners. Teamwork makes the dream work.”

Financial support for the program, which is at capacity, was provided by Borough President Lee, Patrick B. Jenkins & Associates and Feel Beauty Supply in Jamaica. Colin Kaepernick’s Know Your Rights Camp also provided financial support, as well as personal protective equipment (PPE).

The fresh ingredients are entirely donated and delivered weekly by Long Island City-based commercial kitchen Kommissary LIC: approximately 400 pounds of chicken, 250 pounds of rice and 150 pounds of fresh vegetables throughout the duration of the program (40, 25 and 15 pounds of each respective ingredient per week).

The meals are freshly-made and prepared by the participating youth at the teaching kitchen at Forestdale, Inc. in Forest Hills — opened just last year thanks in part to prior funding by then-Borough President Melinda Katz.

“The importance of this partnership with 100 Suits and Kevin Livingston is in empowering our youth, enabling them to learn a great trade with stability,” said Rochdale Village Board of Directors President JEAN RANDOLPH-CASTRO. “Just as important and humbly rewarding is feeding Rochdale Village seniors during the COVID-19 crisis, ensuring their health and well-being through healthy eating and improving their quality of life.”

We need to do our part in supporting the community and restoring confidence. Together with 100 suits, we can create these opportunities to empower the Youth to further their involvement in the community,” said Kommissary Chief Culture Officer EDWARD SONG. “Always improving and helping others is what we are all about.”

“Forestdale was very pleased when the Borough President made this introduction to 100 Suits. Young people from one of the communities hardest hit by the pandemic were desperate for an opportunity to make a contribution to help their neighbors,” said Forestdale, Inc. Executive Director BILL WEISBERG. “Making meals for hundreds of seniors who have been most vulnerable and isolated at this time was an inspired idea by 100 Suits. Pairing the young chefs with Forestdale’s state-of-the-art teaching kitchen, which was sponsored by the Borough President’s Office and the City Council for just this sort community-building activity, was perfect.”

“I commend everyone involved in this most important endeavor to bring the culinary arts and other much needed skills to the young people in our community,” said State Senator JAMES SANDERS, JR. “I particularly would like to thank Kevin Livingston for always being proactive and bringing such an innovative project to Southeast Queens where it is much needed.”

“The 100 Suits Summer Youth Employment Initiative tackles two important issues that our community still faces- food insecurity and employment,” said Councilmember ADRIENNE ADAMS. “I applaud this initiative that will give our young people an outlet and the opportunity to learn valuable skills while providing fresh and nutritious meals for our seniors.”