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49th Precinct food drive starts soon

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Grab a can of beans or a bag of ramen noodles. The seventh annual 49th Precinct Community Council holiday food drive is about to begin. In 2008, despite an economic recession, the 49th Precinct, its community council, its Explorers, neighborhood cub scouts, and students from P.S. 162, P.S. 108, P.S. 83, P.S. 105 and P.S. 44 gathered nearly 7,000 pounds of non-perishable food for the hungry.

Students from P.S. 121 will join the effort in 2009. Residents of the 49th Precinct are encouraged to drop off donations at the precinct on Eastchester Road. Residents unable to visit the precinct are encouraged to phone community council president Joe Thompson at (917) 783-4180 or 49th Precinct community affairs officer Vic DiPierro at (718) 918-2025 for a pick-up. The cub scouts will accept donations outside neighborhood grocery stores as well.

Thompson helped to establish the food drive because Bronx elected officials and neighborhood groups tend to donate turkeys and food at Thanksgiving and toys for the holidays.

“The same people who are hungry at Thanksgiving are hungry for the holidays,” Thompson said.

Most food drive donations are sent to food pantries at St. Lucy’s Church on Mace Avenue and the Bronx Jewish Community Council on Holland Avenue. The 49th Precinct lost its third food pantry in 2007. Some donations will also be sent to seniors at the Pelham Parkway Houses and Eastchester Gardens public housing developments. In 2007, donations were sent to five families displaced by a fire on Boston Road.

“There are more hungry people than ever,” Thompson said. “Community Board 11 got calls from hungry people last year.”

Reach reporter Daniel Beekman at 718 742-3383 or dbeekman@cnglocal.com

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CNG: Community Newspaper Group