Lester Lin, Founder/City Mission
by Benjamin Fang
Dec 20, 2016 | 4951 views | 0 0 comments | 311 311 recommendations | email to a friend | print
When the news broke that the city converted the former Pan American Hotel in Elmhurst into a homeless shelter, enraged neighbors turned out to protest the decision.

But one local instead preached compassion, and found a way to better the lives of those less fortunate.

Lin founded City Mission, a nonprofit that strives to “meet the basic needs of the city.” According to Lin, they focus on helping immigrants, empowering youth, and aiding homeless shelters.

Earlier this May, City Mission hosted a health fair to help immigrants receive health screenings. City agencies and nonprofit organizations came to provide other services.

“Queens is just filled with immigrants,” Lin said. “They don’t know what to do or the laws protecting them, even health insurance or that kind of basic stuff.”

But City Mission’s most known for volunteering at the Pan Am shelter. Last year, Lin threw a barbecue for the homeless families living there.

They still have a strong presence there, tutoring children every Thursday, hosting events, and building relationships with the families.

“This is the most homelessness since the Great Depression,” Lin said. “That is something that’s a huge basic need.”

Lin works with high school students who yearn to give back. He collaborates with them by providing the funds needed to buy, put together and distribute care packages.

Last week, he worked with local students to provide packages of basic necessities to the 30 homeless men living in the Maspeth Holiday Inn Express.

“The high school students in the neighborhood came up with it,” Lin said. “One got together with his friends and just thought about what to do because they heard about the controversy in this neighborhood.

“They are normal people, they work, they are completely cool,” he added of the homeless. “With their situation it’s not their fault, and we just do whatever we can to keep them accounted for and to help them.”
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