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PAGE 6                                                    THE QUEENS TIMES                                THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5, 2019

                            Council Member Vallone Unveils                                      Meng Introduces Critical Legislation to
                       “Madeline Sershen Way” in Whitestone                                       Improve Requirements For Consumer

             Council Member Paul A. Val-                                                                         Product Recalls
        lone was joined by the Sershen
        family and their friends on Thurs-
        day evening to unveil “Madeline                                                                                      (CPSC) provide an annual report
        Sershen Way” at the intersection                                                                                     to Congress on participation rates
        of 16th Avenue and Utopia Park-                                                                                      for each recall.
        way. Madeline was a local 17 year                                                                                         “Each year, businesses launch
        old who was tragically killed after                                                                                  nearly  30,000  new  products,
        being struck by a vehicle in 2018.                                                                                   but  some  of  those  items  may
                  Also  in  attendance  were                                                                                 endanger the health and safety
        Senator John Liu, Assemblyman                                                                                        of our families and our homes,”
        Braunstein and community mem-                                                                                        said Congresswoman Meng. “We
        bers from St. Francis Preparatory                                                                                    can’t  expect  busy  parents  and
        School, Our Lady of the Blessed                                                                                      consumers to consistently check
        Sacrament School and P.S. 209.                                                                                       for possible problems every time
        Madeline was a Queens native                                                                                         they  purchase  a  product.  If  a
        who attended St. Francis Prep and                                                                                    company sells a dangerous item,
        was a rising senior at the time of                                                                                   that company should rightly be
        her passing.                                                                                                         expected to market the recall as
             Madeline’s sister Olivia Ser-                                                      Congresswoman’s bill would en-  aggressively as they marketed the
        shen and cousin Skyler Nenadich                                                         sure that consumers are notified  sale of the product. An average
        delivered remarks at the ceremo-                                                        of recalls                   recall response rate between 4-18
        ny.  Attendees then gathered for a                                                                                   percent is not just unacceptable;
        candlelight vigil, followed by the                                                           U.S. Rep. Grace Meng (D-  it is irresponsible. Every single
        sign unveiling.                                                                         NY), a founder and Co-Chair of  day a family unknowingly con-
             “A beloved daughter, sister,                                                       the Congressional Kids’ Safety  tinues to use an already recalled
        aunt and an exceptional student                                                         Caucus, announced the introduc-  product, is a day too long. The
        and  young  woman,  Madeline                                                            tion of the Total Recall Act, a bill  Total  Recall  Act  would  ensure
        Sershen  lived  a  brief  but  very                                                     that would require businesses to  that companies commit to effec-
        bright life and was clearly loved                                                       strengthen  and  streamline  the  tive and impactful outreach on
        by  so  many  in  the  Northeast                                                        way they notify consumers about  all recalled products, and I urge
        Queens community,” said Coun-                                                           product recalls. Currently, the av-  all my colleagues to support it.”
        cil Member Paul Vallone. “Thank                                                         erage response rate of consumers            “Improving  recall  effec-
        you to Olivia Sershen and Skyler                                                        for most recalls is only between  tiveness  is  critical  to  ensuring
        Nenadich for sharing such mov-                                                          4 and 18 percent.            that  unsafe  recalled  products
        ing  words,  and  to  Madeline’s                                                             Meng’s legislation would in-  are  removed  from  consumers
        aunt Rita Barravecchio for being                                                        crease notifications for all types  homes and children’s hands,” said
        a  strong  advocate  for  positive                                                      of recalls by requiring businesses  Rachel  Weintraub,  Legislative
        changes  to  New  York  State’s                                                         to  post  recall  notices  on  their  Director  and  General  Counsel
        driving laws. I am humbled to be                                                        websites and on all social media  with  the  Consumer  Federation
        a part of honoring Madeline’s life                                                      accounts. For a mandatory recall,  of America. “Much more must
        in this lasting way.”                                                                   businesses would be required to  be done to make recalls actually
             “Today, as we are gathered                                                         notify the public by spending at  work and this bill would require
        here, I remind you of that intel-                                                       least 25 percent of the money they  numerous necessary steps to help
        ligent, loving, fierce being: the                                                       used  for  traditional  marketing  to make recalls more effective.”
        daughter,  sister,  aunt,  grand-  but will honor her forever. For  every crosswalk you pass, every   of the product. For a voluntary       “Announcing a recall should
        daughter, niece, cousin, friend,  that, my family and I thank you,  red light you stop at, with every   recall  and  settlement,  compa-  just be the beginning of a com-
        student, classmate and role model  Councilman Vallone. But I ask  pedestrian  you  see  walking.  I   nies  would  be  urged  to  notify  pany’s efforts to retrieve or repair
        she forever will be to each one  you all to remember Maddie and  hope you are reminded of her in   consumers by using at least 25  the  dangerous  product,”  said
        of us,” said Olivia Sershen. “To-  keep her alive not just here in this  all the ordinary moments your   percent of the product’s original  Nancy Cowles, Executive Direc-
        day,  we  unveil  this  tribute  to  moment today, and not just here  life has to offer and in all your   traditional marketing budget and  tor of Kids In Danger, a nonprofit
        her, which won’t bring her back,  on Madeline Sershen Way, but at  special ones.”       100 percent of the social media  organization working to ensure
                                                                                                marketing budget. The bill would  product safety for children. “This
              More Than 189,000 Queens Residents Can’t                                          also mandate that the Consumer   (Continued on page 10)
                                                                                                Product  Safety  Commission
                                  Afford Enough Food

             Nearly eight percent of Queens
        residents were food insecure in
        2016-2018, according to federal
        data  analyzed  by  Hunger  Free
        America.  This  includes  more
        than 12 percent of children, nearly
        four percent of working adults,
        and nearly six percent of older
        residents (60+ years old) in the
        borough.  While  the  number  of
        people in New York City who are
        food insecure decreased by nearly
        27 percent over the last six years,   “We must continue to support governmental policies that
        one in eight city residents still   provide dignified support to families said Assemblywoman
        struggled against hunger.    Catherine  Nolan.    “I  am  also  grateful  to  so  many  in  our
             The number of Queens residents   community  who  donate  and  support  Hour  Children
        who  experienced  food  insecu-  and  all  the  food  pantries  in  our  district.”  Pictured  is
        rity in 2016-2018 totals 189,178,   Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan with Sister Tesa Fitzgerald
        according  to  the  Hunger  Free   and individuals from Hour Children and Hunger Free NYC.
        America  report.  This  is  down
        from 244,863 Queens residents in  Island City.             as the recession took its toll. It is
        2013-2015 and 268,796 in 2006-       “Because so many New Yorkers  only in the last three years that we
        2008. However, 68 percent of food  earn too little to keep up with soar-  have seen food insecurity rates
        pantries and soup kitchens in the  ing costs for housing, health care,  return  to  pre-recession  levels,
        borough reported serving more  child care, and other basic costs of  which are still sky-high. Queens
        people in 2019 than in 2018, ac-  living, a million of them struggled  has long been a bedrock middle-
        cording to Hunger Free America’s  against hunger,” Berg said. “Be-  class borough. When places like
        annual survey of emergency food  tween 2005-2008 and 2015-2017,  Queens have a significant hunger
        programs.                    the cost of living in New York City  and poverty problem, that speaks
             Joel Berg, CEO of Hunger  went from an average of under  volumes about the extent of this
        Free  America,  announced  the  $4,000 per month to more than  crisis citywide and nationwide.”
        data Tuesday morning at the Hour  $5,000 per month. During that
        Children  Food  Pantry  in  Long  time, food insecurity levels soared   (Continued on page 9)
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