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The Unsung Heroes of Flushing

April 27, 2024


Arts & Culture

Every Friday, Tzu Chi New York hosts a morning food pantry that enables New Yorkers in need to get free groceries from its office in downtown Flushing, NY. While serving hundreds of households on a weekly basis, the activity has drawn the interest of the employees of a popular local business: Starbucks.

Coming together to volunteer their time, the baristas and staff of Starbucks in Flushing joined the ranks of Tzu Chi volunteers to help divvy vegetables, package items, and greet care recipients to hand off groceries to them.

For Starbucks employee, Daniel Lee, volunteering at an event like this comes from a personal place: “I was born and raised in New York… we didn’t have a lot of money. Sometimes, we would go to events like this to get groceries because, you know, sometimes you just need help, right?”

To longtime Tzu Chi volunteer San San Chiang however, seeing drop-in volunteers like Daniel is admirable: “Every Friday, you can’t believe it, all these new volunteers, they come, they join us; they use their working hours, from 8:00 to 11:00. Once they finish this service, they’re back to work.”

But, for Daniel, it’s about much more than sparing a few hours: “giving back in the same way feels really good. It just kind of comes full circle.”

See more in our latest video* and support the work we’re doing to ease food insecurity at


Director: Daniel Ferrara
DP: Alex Kosorukov
Editor: Daniel Ferrara
Color: Alex Kosorukov
Music: ‘Life in Color’ by MusicDog, ‘Epic Inspirations Unveiled’ by RVS


Charity , TzuChiNY , Food Insecurity

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