Queer-centric food pantry provides free groceries across NYC.
NEW YORK – Alejandro Rodriguez recently moved to the United States from South America looking to escape hostility he faced there as a queer person. He says he arrived with nothing.
“I lived in a tent,” he said in Spanish. “Now, they relocated me to a different shelter.”
When he found the food pantry called Love Wins, he says, he received both something to eat and a sense of belonging.
“About fifteen days ago, I found out about this organization, and since then, I don’t want to get away from this organization,” he said.
Founded in 2020, Love Wins is a queer-centric, volunteer-led food pantry providing free groceries at locations across the city, including in Jackson Heights, Queens.
“It’s spaces that are designed to welcome everyone with love and care,” founder Daniel Puerto said.
He says it’s heartbreaking that this work is called for in the first place.
“It’s a shame that in one of the richest countries and states, you still see people that are struggling to survive,” Puerto said.
Volunteers see the difference a bag of produce can make. They also witness the power of connection. The group serves visitors of all backgrounds and identities while recognizing the specific needs of LGBTQ+ community members.
“There’s so many overlapping issues that LGBTQ people face, and we’re here to be a gateway to a starting point of a life with dignity and respect,” Puerto said.
“As a LGBTQ immigrant, I feel very protected,” Rodriguez said.
He now not only receives support but also gives it as a volunteer.
“I know that there’s other people in my same situation that are also in need, and so I should be sharing what I’m receiving,” he said.