A Special Update

Hurricane Disaster Response update

Dear Friends,

We thought you would appreciate this brief Hurricane Disaster Response Update.

Feeding America reached out to us to assist our sister food bank, Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico, in their emergency response work in Puerto Rico. Our team, Migdalia Otero, VP of Operations and my daughter Rebecca Dresner, are officially “on the ground” as of yesterday.

This mission is deeply personal for our team and us back on Long Island, recalling the devastation caused by Super Storm Sandy in 2012 and the assistance we received from the Feeding America network.  If we can help even one person in Puerto Rico, it will have been enough – though I am confident that working with the Feeding America and Banco de Alimentos de Puerto Rico teams we will help hundreds of thousands, if not more!  A native of Puerto Rico, Migdalia’s knowledge of the island, coupled with her expertise in food distribution and emergency response and Rebecca’s international volunteer work, they are an ideal team to assist in this vital recovery effort. Both women have hit the ground running and will do what’s necessary to begin the distribution and rebuilding process.
As a key member of the Island Harvest Food Bank team, I am looking forward to sharing information with you over the coming weeks about the relief efforts from the briefings I will be getting from our team and Feeding America.

In the meantime, I am pleased to share this first report and some pictures of their work.

This morning as they were beginning their work receiving the first shipments of donated product they were welcomed by a load DIRECTLY FROM ISLAND HARVEST FOOD BANK as you can see from the photos below.  Imagine the jolt of excitement they felt from seeing that, as I did from learning of it!!!

Our primary task in Puerto Rico is to set up a food and product distribution warehouse to expand the work of the area food bank to under-served communities. Migdalia has been able to secure a donated facility and some heavy equipment to assist in the efficient flow of product.

Our team will be working in the following communities: Aguada; Comerio; Mayaguez; Hatilo; Aguadilla; Camuy; Rincon; Humacao. Another part of their charge is to train and assist local food bank staff and volunteers on specific disaster deployment and distribution protocol.

Additional plans are being developed this morning to solidify, strengthen and expand their work, which I will include in future reports.
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We have received many contributions from individuals and corporations designated to the areas impacted by the recent hurricanes. I am pleased to announce that Nature’s Bounty has approved a generous grant to support and fund our emergency-relief response work. The funding will further ensure that we don’t dilute our local resources as we continue to support our daily efforts in helping the 316,000 men, women and children who are in need every day, right here on Long Island.

Regarding Hurricane Harvey and Irma Response:

Disaster Response work also continues in Florida, Texas and other areas impacted by the recent surge of hurricanes.  Tractor trailer loads of food and product collected from well over 600 local drives continue to be sent out to the communities most in need, in coordination with our sister food banks and Feeding America. Their staffs and volunteers are on the ground working closely with other disaster response organizations to assist those in need.   This work is going to be carried out for a very long time and we are proud of our colleagues and their volunteers for all the incredibly hard work they are doing, and as we know – most of them have been personally impacted as well.

Reports will be forthcoming as information becomes available.  We are all part of an incredible network of caring, dedicated and professional people. How great is that!

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