SUFFOLK COUNTY, NY — The organizer of Sunday's "MAGA-Gras" Trump parade that brought thousands out in Riverhead and the North Fork has announced plans for a new event — and this time, there will be a focus on addressing food insecurity.
"MAGA-Gras III" is also organized by Shawn Farash, 29, of West Babylon, who told Patch the event is a food drive for New York City communities in need. The group will meet on Sunday, October 4 at 9 a.m. at the Ronkonkoma train station, with a 10 a.m. kickoff, then head to New York City with a "massive" donation of food.
When asked why the group was addressing the need to feed the hungry, Farash said: "We want to help because that's who we are. When we say 'Make America Great Again' it's for everyone, not just us, and if we can contribute by giving donations of food to hungry and/or needy families, then we really are making the country better tomorrow than it is today."
The bottom line, Farash said, is about putting words into action. "It's about giving back," he said. "It's about actually doing something for communities in need, rather than what we've seen politicians who oppose us do: making empty promises every four years and turning their backs on these communities. We are doing something for the areas that we come through. We want to reach out and lend that helping hand and say, 'We're with you, we're here for you, and we will continue to help."
And, Farash said, the goal is to show the rest of the city, state, and nation, "and even the rest of the world that this is who we are. Everything that's been said about us for the last four years, the accusations of being racist, or selfish, or that we don't like certain people, it's complete nonsense. We are prepared not only to show our love for our country and this president, but to show our love for those who need it most right now, and we won't be stopped."
Farash and those participated in Sunday's event got a shout out from President Donald Trump.
He has said that he and those who participate in the caravans have a message: "Silent no more."
"If anyone wants to confront us and stand in our way on October 4, they'll be standing in the way of delivering desperately needed meals to communities in the heart of the greatest city in the world, which would really be a tragedy," Farash said. "I want everyone to understand that aspect of this. It's more than just a parade, we're trying to do good here, to give back and to help, and if opposition 'protesters' want to stop us, then they'll literally be starving whole communities in the process."
Patch has partnered with Feeding America to help raise awareness on behalf of the millions of Americans facing hunger. Feeding America, which supports 200 food banks across the country, estimates that in 2020, more than 54 million Americans will not have enough nutritious food to eat due to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. This is a Patch social good project; Feeding America receives 100 percent of donations. Find out how you can donate in your community or find a food pantry near you.