FLUSHING — With the holidays in full swing, the Flushing Christian Outreach Center (FCOC) is asking for the community’s help to provide Christmas dinners and necessary items this winter.
Terry Bigelow, FCOC program manager, said that the center needs around $1,000 in donations to cover costs for Christmas ham dinners and fixings for clients. FCOC is also in need of canned goods, along with dried mashed potatoes, ramen noodles, cereal and supplies like toilet paper and Kleenex.
Bigelow said that many goods have been in short supply due to the COVID-19 pandemic, putting a strain on FCOC’s budget. Additionally, the center is distributing food to 400 clients per week—with many people scheduling two appointments a month to pick up food items.
“Before, we would give out a week’s worth of food per month, but people need more than that to supplement their budgets,” Bigelow said. “More people are coming here for the first time because they don’t have jobs and have never had to use our resources before.
“We’re telling them it’s not a hand-out,” she added. “It’s neighbors helping neighbors.”
Despite the challenges, FCOC has received considerable support from the community. This past week, the center held a fundraiser on GoFundMe to raise money for two new freezers. Within 24 hours, residents donated $1,435—easily topping FCOC’s matching gift goal of $1,050 and the fundraiser’s overall goal of $2,100.
Excess money from the fundraiser was used by FCOC to purchase turkey dinners, sides and pumpkin pies for its clients.
Bigelow said that she’s amazed by the level of generosity FCOC has received from the Flushing community this holiday season.
“The community sees this outreach center as theirs,” she said. “It doesn’t belong to the FCOC board, it doesn’t belong to me or even just the clients. It belongs to the community.”
To drop off non-perishable food items or supplies, visit the Flushing Christian Outreach Center’s location on 5409 W. Pierson Road in Flushing. Monetary donations can be made in-person at the center or online at flushingchristianoutreach.org/donate.