Jeff Kolsch: The Face Behind New Life Food And Clothing Pantry
April 26, 2022
WNYK Warrior Radio is passionate about giving a platform to local churches, and organizations that promote the love of God, and a life of generosity. Meet Jeff Kolsch, the founder and director of New Life Food and Clothing Pantry. A position he has held for almost a quarter of a century.
Filling a Need in Queens
Jeff has always “felt called by God to help those in need”, and an opportunity arose 25 years ago. “A woman came up to me one time in Forest Hills, Queens asking for help. I was trying to direct her to some place where she could receive help for her children. I realized I needed to do something to assist people like her. And that was the birth of the New Life Food and Clothing Pantry.” The pantry is part of the New Life Community Development Corporation. It started out as just a food pantry, but then expanded into clothing as well. “Most of it is used from donations, but sometimes we would raise funds and purchase brand new clothing, especially coats during the winter.” The outreach is Christ-centered as they “also started doing a homeless meal service where we cooked on-site and would say a quick prayer over them. We would give a short Bible verse just to give an opportunity for those who wanted to know Jesus more. Pre-Pandemic it was “feeding up to 300 different families in the area and well over 200 homeless individuals.”
Pivoting Through the Pandemic
Jeff wanted to continue to serve the local community, but he also wanted to keep everyone safe. “We wanted to make sure that no one got COVID through us, so we weren’t able to bring people into the building.” This is where the servant’s heart shines through. “We serve them by delivering food pantry bags to them.” Still, it hasn’t been easy dealing with the complexities brought on by the pandemic. “With the homeless, we used to have them come into the building and they would be able to sit down and relax. Now we’ve had to pivot to grab and go meals.” COVID has certainly added some complications, but Jeff has made sure that the community in need is still being served well by the pantry. This service brings forth some amazing stories.
We asked Jeff for an impactful story from his time at the pantry, and it’s hard to narrow one down as “you get to see a lot of things happen where God is working.” There is one, however, that really sticks out for him. “We were feeding one homeless individual who wanted to help out and volunteer. And when I saw that he was capable, we expanded those responsibilities. We were in need of hiring someone who could handle the operations of the food delivery, as well as cooking, so we hired him. Before this, he was living in Flushing Park under a bridge with his son. Now, we’re able to house them. He was a great help in expanding the homeless ministry and this was his way of giving back.” A powerful testimony from an impactful ministry.
How We Can Help
Jeff has great plans for the New Life Food and Clothing Pantry, but he needs our help and generosity. “We’d love to be able to find another location that’s very close to the church where we can operate five or six days a week. Right now, we’re open Tuesday evening, and Saturday morning. We’re feeding people two to three days a week, but they’re in need seven days a week. And we have to help them, so that’s my prayer, and that’s my hope. I leave it in God’s hands.”
For more information, and for an opportunity to donate to the New Life Food and Pantry, please visit New Life Food and Clothing Pantry.
To hear the full interview with Jeff, please tune into Warrior Radio on Thursday, May 5 at 3:00 p.m.
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