Organizers from the Kew Gardens Flea Market delivered candy and goody bags for the children last Thursday. The kids also received a visit from and photos with Captain America.
Lisa Altimari, organizer of the flea market along with Kandice Rogers, said their mission is to make a child’s day as pleasant as possible while they are at the hospital.
The vendor fees from the flea market, which takes place four times a year at the Kew Gardens LIRR parking lot at 82-60 Austin Street, all go toward the Pediatrics Department for non-medical purchases.
In recent years, the proceeds helped the department buy a new flat-screen television for the children’s playroom. The funds are also used to buy Christmas gifts, Halloween candy and more. The latest project has been repainting the department’s walls.
“It’s a great thing,” Altimari said. “It makes the child’s stay even brighter.”
The flea market has been in operation for 28 years. Altimari has been running it for 18 years, and Rogers has been helping for the past four years.
Altimari said people come from “far and wide,” including neighborhoods like Ridgewood and Douglaston.
“It’s great for small businesses who don’t have a storefront to sell their wares,” she said. “The community enjoys it.”
Dan Gottlieb joined the flea market two years ago. He dressed up as Captain America to bring smiles to the kids.
Gottlieb said when he heard the funds benefitted the Pediatrics Department, he “had to jump in and help.”
“It’s one of those things that you don’t see enough of these days,” he said. “Most people need to get up and realize that there are things going on outside of their own lives that actually benefit everyone.
“All I care about is that they have a moment of joy,” Gottlieb added. “It could be a second, a minute or an hour. All I know is if it gives them that, that makes this all worth it.”
Tracey Kunj-Ramen, a child life specialist at Jamaica Hospital, said anytime she needs anything Altimari is always there to help.
“It’s tough being a one-person program,” Kunj-Ramen said. “Any help we get is appreciated.”