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The holidays are arriving early this year for thousands of New York families, as they receive free food, personal care items, clothing and toys in an outreach effort called “Christmas on Merrick” in Jamaica, Queens. This event is expected to be one of the largest toy and gift distribution efforts in Queens, benefiting at least 2000 children and families this holiday season. The event is expected to benefit adults and children living in homeless shelters, foster care, domestic violence shelters, the elderly and those living in poverty.

The distribution took place from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Monday, December 22nd at The Greater Allen Cathedral of New York (110-31 Merrick Boulevard).

In December 2007, the Rev. Dr. Floyd H. Flake and The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York partnered with the National Basketball Players Association and Feed the Children to feed 10,000 in New York City during the holiday season. The Holiday Food Give Away, “Miracle on Merrick Boulevard” was one of New York City’s largest food give-away events of the year. The event was part of an ongoing effort to alleviate hunger during the holidays, as well as enhance the public’s awareness of the 1.4 million New Yorkers who go hungry every day.

Reverend Floyd H. Flake and The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York will continue its humanitarian effort by hosting “Christmas on Merrick.” Through its soup kitchen, The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York distributes more than 110,000 meals to families in New York each year. Our Thanksgiving Feeding program alone has an annual distribution of over 11,000 meals. “Christmas on Merrick” will afford us another outreach opportunity to connect with our neighbors this holiday season.

“Our responsibility as human beings is to be faithful in responding to the needs of our children,” said Reverend Floyd Flake, pastor of The Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral of New York. “In giving to them, we give to ourselves.”

Donations have come from Feed the Children, City Harvest, Toys R’ Us, Starbucks, The U.S. Marine Corps, New York Mets, NCAA and members of our congregation. Emblem Health will provide health care registration for families that are currently without care. Certified health professionals will also be on-site to provide a variety of health screenings for blood pressure, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, and glucose testing.

“We are grateful for the companies who are helping us bring joy and excitement to children this holiday season. Some families don’t have basic necessities for their families. Thanks to supporters like Feed the Children, 800 families will receive a box of either non-perishable food items or toiletry items, and donations from Toys R Us and The U.S. Marine Corps will enable us to gift more than 1000 children with toys and games.”-said Reverend Floyd Flake.

“Christmas on Merrick” was   broadcasted LIVE from 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. with radio host and award-winning gospel recording artist, Hezekiah Walker. This charitable effort is sure to bring hope to families that are poverty-stricken and cannot afford to feed their families or provide basic necessities during this holiday season. Local politicians are expected to join in this endeavor by assisting with gift distribution.

“This humanitarian event provides us all with an amazing opportunity to display compassion towards our neighbors during a time of charitable giving, remembrance and sacrifice,” said Reverend Floyd Flake.

Check out the video of some happy families below:

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