June 16, 2021 By Ryan Songalia
Seven city council candidates running to represent the 26th district in western Queens came together Saturday for a joint food drive in Sunnyside.
Hailie Kim partnered with fellow candidates Steven Raga, Amit Bagga, Brent O’Leary, Emily Sharpe, Denise Keehan-Smith and Badrun Khan to collect canned goods, dry goods, powdered milk, rice and non-perishables to donate to the Mosaic Church food pantry on 43rd Avenue.
Kim, who organized the event, said the group collected several bags of canned goods and non-perishables, plus two boxes of fresh produce and $400 worth of gift cards to Fresh n Save Marketplace.
Vendors at the Sunnyside Greenmarket also contributed to the food drive.
Kim said she organized the drive after learning that the USDA was about to end its Farmers to Families Food Box Program. The program is part of an emergency relief effort to distribute food from farmers to people in need.
“The federal aid is about to end soon, and we needed to draw attention to the issue of food insecurity in our backyard,” Kim said.
The seven candidates are among 15 running to replace the term-limited Jimmy Van Bramer in District 26, which is comprised of Sunnyside, Woodside, Astoria and Long Island City.
The food drive is one of several events where candidates have come together for a common cause during this election.
The new ranked choice voting system has brought rivals together, as candidates try to be ranked and avoid alienating voters.