According to Jabed Uddin, the community organization’s secretary, the group serves anywhere from 7,000 to 10,000 families every week by giving out food and groceries.
At least three times a week, local residents line up near 36th Avenue and 29th Street to receive much-needed food, including Halal meals for Muslim families.
“We try to serve as many people as we can,” Uddin said. “It’s not 10, 20 or 30 families, but thousands of families, especially people who don’t have jobs but need to feed their kids.”
In addition to giving out food on the streets of Astoria, Long Island City and beyond, Uddin said they have delivered food to area residents who can’t leave their homes, but still face food insecurity.
When the pandemic was at its early stages and most people were still holed up inside, Uddin was outside serving food.
“People said stay home but I said no, people need help,” he said. “I enjoy helping people.”
In addition to running the Astoria Welfare Society, Uddin has volunteered with the Queens Bangladeshi Society and is secretary for the Moulvibazar District Society.
He noted that he has received help from State Senator Michael Gianaris, Acting Borough President Sharon Lee, Assemblyman-elect Zohran Mamdani and City Council candidate Julia Forman. He has also collaborated with dozens of organizations like Queens Together.
Uddin said he still sees long lines of people at his events, and he gets a lot of calls from community members asking for help. He hopes government agencies will fund more efforts to feed communities.
“Hopefully everyone will work together and come up with something,” he said. “That’s my hope.”