Though the event is traditionally hosted at Ridgewood Savings Bank on Queens Boulevard, this year the organization opted for a virtual format due to the pandemic.
“Unfortunately we can’t be together in person, but it’s really nice to have opportunities like this where we can still celebrate each other and be together as a community,” said Forest Hills branch manager Nancy Adzemovic at the start of the video conference. “I’m really proud to be part of such a great event.”
In addition to offering a presentation all about mooncakes, FHAA recognized Rosa Shin of the Forest Hills Collective - with special shoutouts to her collaborators Melissa Lee-Kung and Alexander Chung - as the organization’s 2020 Community Advocate Honoree.
Throughout the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City and beyond, the Forest Hills Collective supported Queens communities every step of the way.
What started out as a small group of neighbors collecting money on Facebook for snacks and coffee for the staff at Elmhurst Hospital quickly expanded into a network providing everything from PPE to diapers and art supplies for healthcare professionals across the city.
Shin says within three months, the Forest Hills Collective raised nearly $55,000 in funds and Amazon Wishlist purchases for more than a dozen hospitals and organizations in Queens, Brooklyn and the Bronx, including LIJ Forest Hills Hospital.
As of late, the Forest Hills Collective has taken on an initiative to help local teachers acquire the supplies they need for school reopenings.
“We just rode the wave as things happened,” explained Shin. “And at the end of it all I learned and I was inspired by what a community effort can do, what a group of kindhearted individuals can do. So many people stepped up and were not afraid of investing their own energy, effort or even their health.
“I know the numbers are spiking again,” she added, “but I hope that we can be vigilant and shake this off so that we can come together for a block party as a community when this is over. I can’t wait for that day.”