Unity Pre-Chanukah Food Distribution Brings Joy to Many

Unity Pre-Chanukah Food Distribution Brings Joy to Many

On Thursday, November 18, 2021 the Council of Jewish Organizations of Staten Island, (COJO) the Jewish Community Center of Staten Island, (JCC) and Project Hospitality teamed up, collaborated and partnered with Met Council on Jewish Poverty (Met Council) in creating a grand pre-Chanukah food distribution. The event was hosted by the JCC and took place at the parking lot of the Joan & Alan Bernikow complex of the Jewish Community Center located in the Seaview section of Staten Island. 

Orit Lender, CEO and executive director, JCC, remarked, “we are pleased to partner with COJO,  Project Hospitality and Met Council on this important initiative to provide Chanukah food to our community members in need. It was a pleasure working with the dream team consisting of Mendy Mirocznik, Terry Troia and Scott Maurer. We look forward to continued community ventures, collaborative projects and partnerships that will further bring resources hope, support, unity and love to Staten Island.”

“We could not have had any more welcoming hosts then the JCC. The care and concern and assistance to every detail was instrumental in making the pre-Chanukah Food Distribution a success. Orit Lender and the JCC out did themselves and the key to building a thriving community is with strong community bonds that has the focus of delivering the best to the community it serves. Thanks to the JCC we accomplished this most important mission” stated Mirocznik.

Approximately, 800 Chanukah food packages were distributed consisting of Chickens, Turkeys, Groceries, Produce and other edible delights. “The goal of this years pre-Chanukah food giveaway was to create a spirit of harmony, unity and love by bringing the diverse communities of Staten Island together as one in focusing on a positive way to help as many families as we can to celebrate Chanukah with appropriate festive food items” stressed Mendy Mirocznik, president, COJO. This year marks the 46th year of COJO helping make sure that members of the Staten Island community can celebrate Chnukah in a dignified manner in accordance with Jewish traditions and customs.  

“However, today’s grand distribution was a labor of love developed over many weeks and countless hours of planning between Terry Troia, the venerable president of Project Hospitality who worked so diligently with Scott Maurer, CEO and executive vice-president of COJO, Orit Lender, CEO and executive director, JCC, Amelia Winter, chief program director of Social and Senior Services, JCC, and Sarah Sweet, director of Social Services, JCC. This dream team developed, crafted and created a wonderful communitywide food project that helped so many. It was heartwarming and gratifying to see Iva Reuven, chair of COJO’s Service Committee and Sarah Cohen, JCC’s pantry coordinator map out a logistic and distribution strategy that worked like clockwork. They had a  well-oiled operation and kudos to them. They made mission impossible possible. It was rather gratifying to see Terry Troia on hand and coordinating a diverse team of socially conscience volunteers tackle a backbreaking and demanding mission that resulted in a great pre-Chanukah food distribution that helped so many. 

This reality is thanks to the dream and vision of Terry Troia whose steadfast belief in the Staten Island community proved once again accurate. Terry is stubborn in her moral convictions and her love for people is infectious and her commitment to help others and be the voice of the speechless and the advocate for the silent is praiseworthy. Her determination is our secret weapon, there is no retreat with Terry. There is only one move, a strong one-way advocacy offensive that must lead to victory. There is no time to take prisoners. The word “no” does not exist in her vocabulary. The togetherness established over Covid has only become stronger and the good people who have banded together are developing tighter and deeper bonds of love and friendship and only history will testify to its positive effects in making this world a better place to all people.”

Mirocznik further thanked David Greenfield, chief executive officer and executive director, Met Council,  Aaron Cyperstein, associate council and director of External Affairs, Met Council, Jessica Chait, managing director of Food Programs, Met Council, Benjamin Zaientz, agency relations manager, Met Council and Rebecca Glass, pantry coordinator, Met Council for being understanding people who’s warm and giving hearts made this distribution the success that it was. COJO is proud to be affiliated which such a caring agency that invests in what is most important, the needs of the people in the communities they serve. We truly are blessed and fortunate to be part of the Met Council family. Thank you Met Council your generosity makes a real difference. We look forward to our continued partnership.

Mirocznik, thanked Assemblyman Michael Cusick, who besides being a staunch advocate for COJO and Staten Island is a great volunteer who firmly believes that public service requires everyone to pitch in and give of their time to help pack and distribute food packages. 

“While I firmly support Staten Island’s great civic and Social Service agencies such as COJO, Project Hospitality and the JCC, what I appreciate and cherish the most is the opportunity to connect to Staten Island by volunteering and interacting with the residents of Staten Island and this is best accomplished when I interface with them at these important food and resource distributions. Today I stand proud joining with COJO, Project Hospitality and the JCC. Mendy Mirocznik, Scott Maurer, Terry Troia and Orit Lender are great examples of people who genuinely give themselves over with a full heart to Staten Island and there is not a rock they will not turn over to find a resource that will enhance the lives of the people they engage with. Therefore, I will continue to advocate and support these worthy agencies in anyway that I can. I truly am honored ang humbled to participate today. Thank you to all those who made this a successful event and a special thank you to David Greenfield and your team at Met Council for the support and food you donated. This support is so needed, appreciated and valued.”

Mirocznik, further thanked the NYPD, Chief Frank Vega, Staten Island Borough commander, Lt. Rafet Awad, commanding officer, community affairs, Patrol Borough Staten Island, Detective Mary Miele Kelly, Community Affairs, Patrol Borough Staten Island, Inspector Timothy Wilson, commanding officer, Pct. 122, Community Affairs Officer George Aguilar, Pct. 122, Community Affairs Officer William DeFazio, Pct. 122, Community Affairs Officer Katrina Selkirk, Pct. 122; Community Affairs Officer John Sibal, Pct. 121, and Ari Weiss, COJO Security Chairman and Coordinator Staten Island Shomrim, for traffic control and for helping with packing and distribution of food packages. This amazing team not only handled traffic they also pitched in and helped to set up, unload, package and distribute food packages.

The NYPD is a great community partner, all of their Officers are a credit to the department and they demonstrate that behind the badge and uniform the officers are caring and concerned people who care and give back to the communities they faithfully serve. The officers are true heroes whose steadfast support demonstrates that they will take every step possible to make Staten Island a more safe and unified community. These feelings of love and support come from within the individual officers. It stems from their hearts and is in their blood and veins. It is part of their DNA and who they are, decent good compassionate community people. It is further supported and encouraged by the leadership of the NYPD. Staten Island is fortunate to have Chief Vega at its helm who leads by example and personally and hands on demonstrates as a leader and role model to what is important and that is the needs of the people.” 

Chief Vega, remarked, “we are honored and look forward to work with COJO, JCC and Project Hospitality in helping the people of Staten Island. Our job as policing is enhanced when COJO the central coordinating and umbrella organization steps in and further engages groups such as Project Hospitality and the JCC to bring out the best in people. I must say thank you to Mendy Mirocznik for having us come and coordinate traffic and food distribution. Thank you Orit Lender, Scott Maurer, Terry Troia and the entire gang who made this happen. The effects of such great civic events builds community confidence and trust. We at the NYPD are proud to be part of this and eagerly look forward to our ongoing and continued involvement. I know, the best is yet to come.”

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