Dear friends,

I hope you and your families are well during these trying times. I am keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.

The Same Sky and FAL Foundations are working remotely and functioning well. We have kept in touch with our grantees in Rwanda and the US at the Women in Need Homeless Shelter, Operation Hope, and the Grace Institute to name a few. We are working with them to make sure they have what they need to continue their efforts.

While we are extremely passionate about our mission to change lives by providing access to training and education, these are unprecedented times. I see news stories daily about companies repurposing their factories, retraining their employees, and diverting their resources to address this pandemic. We, too, are pivoting and adjusting our priorities. It’s hard to worry about getting job training when you’re busy worrying about where you and your children’s next meal is coming from.

During this crisis, more and more Americans have been forced to rely on food banks, who are not prepared to deal with the overpowering need. I personally felt heartbroken and powerless seeing people waiting for food in long lines and wondered how I could make the most impact, that's when I found the Food Bank for NYC.

I am proud to share that the Francine A. LeFrak Foundation has made a donation to the Food Bank for NYC that will provide one million meals to Queens which has become the epicenter of this virus with over 50,000 cases alone. In the 1960s, my father Samuel LeFrak built apartments in Queens to provide affordable housing for those who needed it, so I feel particularly connected to these neighborhoods and compelled to help. On the 17th anniversary of my father’s death, I couldn’t think of a better way to honor him and continue his legacy.

1/3 of the food pantries in Queens have closed. The remaining pantries struggle to feed the tens of thousands left jobless and hungry. Many of them relied on senior citizen volunteers to staff them. As one of the most vulnerable populations, these volunteers are no longer available to help. There is a lack in funding needed to meet the overwhelming demand. 38% of children are getting smaller meals each day as families try to stretch the food further.

These already marginalized areas rely heavily on food pantries that have been forced to close. Queens has a meal gap of 43 million meals. Rego Park, Corona, and Forest Hills specifically have a meal gap of 10.7 million meals. Elmhurst Hospital, the busiest hospital in New York right now, serves and employs people living in these hard-hit communities.

I feel so blessed to be able to make this gift to the Food Bank of NYC and grateful that they are nimble enough to fill this meal gap in Queens. Will my contribution solve the problem? Of course not. But will it offer them relief? Yes! PLEASE JOIN ME in supporting them. Together we can make an even bigger impact. We are all looking for ways to help and this is an easy way to do so.

Every donation to the Food Bank’s work in Rego Park, Corona, and Forest Hills has a significant impact. A donation as small as $5 will provide 25 meals for children. Click here FoodBankNYC.org/LeFrak.

Stay healthy, safe and God bless,

Francine LeFrak

FOX5 Good Day NY story about the FAL Foundation's donation to the Food Bank for NYC: