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Boxes of unopened coronavirus food for poor found dumped in Queens



Piles of unopened boxes of emergency city coronavirus meals meant for the poor were found dumped on the side of a Queens underpass Monday.

The outrageous sign of waste — after Mayor Bill de Blasio predicted up to 2 million New Yorkers would go hungry this summer amid the pandemic — was enough to make passers-by sick.

“Why wouldn’t you go give it to people in the streets?” local resident Juan Heno said of the 34 brown cardboard boxes of food piled on top of each other along a concrete wall below the Queens Midtown Expressway, around 57-45 74th St., in Middle Village.

“The city has a lot of homeless right now,” Heno noted to The Post.

The resident said he spotted the boxes — slapped with white labels and black lettering reading, “GetFoodNYC, COVID-19 Emergency Food Distribution, Packed on July 24th, Delivery by July 31st” — in the broiling heat around 9:30 a.m.

He said he called the city’s 311 hot line and was told someone would pick them up — but they were still laying out in the sun more than eight hours later.

Inside the boxes — part of the de Blasio administration’s much-touted program to feed the hungry during the country’s economic crisis — were plastic containers filled with food.

Some of the containers, marked “VEGETARIAN” and “CONTAINS NUTS,” held a bag of multigrain pretzel Pepperidge Farm goldfish, what appeared to be a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich and a small plastic container with part of a granola bar.

Another meal package held dried fruit and nuts, a granola bar, dried edamame and a bagel in plastic with a small cream-cheese packet.

The office of local city Councilman Robert Holden told The Post that a constituent texted photos of the wasted food to them and that he was reaching out to the city to see what happened.

“This is absolutely inexcusable, no matter how this food got there,” the councilman told The Post.

“So many New Yorkers have been desperate for a little extra food to help them get by during this pandemic, so it’s unfathomable to see perfectly good meals go to waste like this. This demands a thorough investigation by City Hall immediately.”

Neighborhood resident Sue Purcarin was just as distressed.

“It’s supposed to go to people,” she said of the food, which she saw by the side of the road in the afternoon. “This is horrible.

“Somebody didn’t want to do their job, and they decided, ‘OK, let me just dump it here.’ ”

The city Sanitation Department, which transports the food, said in a statement, “This is unacceptable, and no driver will be paid for incomplete deliveries.

“We have distributed over 100 million free emergency meals, but anyone who misses a delivery should let us know immediately at nyc.gov/getfood or by calling 311 so we can get them the food they need.”

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