Mayflower resident Bill Callahan told neighbor Elisabeth Grace that he noticed extremely long lines at nearby food banks, and suggested that residents collect food donations.
Grace shared his idea during a Zoom meeting of The Mayflower Maples, a group formed one year ago to campaign the co-op board to save several mature Maple trees in the development’s inner courtyard.
“Since March, our group has been meeting every four to six weeks on Zoom to socialize and discuss building happenings and foster a sense of community and support throughout the pandemic,” she said.
The idea for a food drive was a hit with the group, and residents Nancy and Phil Kalish mentioned that they volunteered at Commonpoint Queens. They reached out to Jhadran “Jay” Rojas, who serves as food pantry coordinator.
“Jay happily sent Nancy a list of much-needed items, and Elisabeth introduced the idea to our board president, who gave it an enthusiastic thumbs up,” said resident and board member Denise Pintus.
Grace designed a flyer announcing the food drive, and volunteers delivered one to every apartment. Hillary Fiden designed a donation box for the lobby, and residents began filling it on December 10.
“Mayflower residents opened their hearts and grocery bags, and made our food drive a success,” said Pintus. “Shareholders expressed their appreciation for being able to participate in such a good cause.”
“Jay and his team seemed excited and genuinely stunned by the size of our building’s donation,” said board president Janice Goldhaar. “We received a heartfelt thank you from him.”
Mayflower residents have been coordinating and participating in various humanitarian initiatives and neighborhood events. Last year, a resident who is also a nurse volunteered to teach CPR classes to fellow residents in the new community room.
In addition, there is a clothing donation bin in the building from Re-fashion NYC, which is often filled to the brink.
“I have been telling many neighbors about the recently launched Forest Hills & Rego Park Graffiti Cleanup Initiative, and they expressed interest in volunteering at future events,” said Pintus. “Also, the board created the Mayflower Book Club, which meets monthly, and other residents formed a weekly knitting circle.”
A project was implemented during the pandemic where volunteers ran errands for people in the building who were unable to leave due to the virus. The board of directors is also considering establishing a Social Action Committee based on the interest in the food drive.
“We are considering collecting food on a more frequent basis for the food pantry,” Pintus said. “We are also exploring ways to reach out to seniors and others in need.”