- Holiday season creates additional demand on food bank to support 316,000 Long Islanders in need of a warm, holiday-style meal, and provide continued, everyday supplemental food assistance—
LONG ISLAND, NY ―November 3, 2015 ― For more than 316,000 Long Islanders, putting a meal on the table has become an everyday challenge. The holiday season, usually a time for joy and cheer, presents an additional burden for families often forced to choose between buying food and paying for medicine, housing, utilities and other essential expenses.
“Nassau and Suffolk residents are faced with among the highest costs of living in the country, creating an unimaginable hardship for many to provide themselves and their families with something as basic as food,” said Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO, Island Harvest Food Bank, a leading Long Island hunger-relief organization. “It’s hard to imagine that, in an area of wealth and prosperity, there is so much hunger. We have families working two and three jobs, just to make ends meet, and they still don’t earn enough to provide their children with the nutritious food needed to maintain a healthy and active life.”
To help make the upcoming holiday season more hopeful, and provide nutritious holiday-style meals for those who struggle with not having enough to eat, Island Harvest Food Bank today announced the kickoff of its annual Turkey and Trimmings Collection Campaign.
Island Harvest needs to raise funds and food not just to help people during the holidays, but to continue to provide year-round support to its network of nearly 570 registered agencies, which includes pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, schools and community centers. In addition, the organization’s Center for Targeted Populations directly assists senior citizens and veterans through specialized mobile food pantries, and its Kids Weekend Backpack Feeding and Summer Feeding Service programs provide supplemental, nutritious food to school-aged children who rely on school breakfast and lunch programs, but may not get enough to eat when school is not in session.
Between now and the end of the year, there will be numerous food drives, including Long Island’s largest one-day frozen turkey and food drive, the 7th Annual Bethpage Turkey Drive, which will take place on Wednesday, November 18, 2015, from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. The drive will be held at Bethpage Federal Credit Union’s headquarters, located at 899 South Oyster Bay Road in Bethpage, and sponsored by Bethpage Federal Credit Union, Cablevision and Connoisseur Media. Among the items needed are nonperishable food items (such as rice and pasta); canned goods (no glass jars or containers); shelf-stable milk and juice; frozen turkeys; canned meats; supermarket gift cards; and cash donations. Companies, organizations and individuals are encouraged to bring donations from their own food drives to the Bethpage event as well.
Frozen turkeys and nonperishable food may also be dropped off during the Turkey and Trimmings Collection Campaign at any Long Island Panera Bread location, or Bristal Assisted Living facility in Nassau or Suffolk counties. The campaign is also generously supported by NBTY, Astoria Bank, Long Island Board of Realtors, the Nassau County Police Benevolent Association, Long Island Pulse Magazine, and Herald Community Newspapers.
“We’ve always been extremely grateful for the generosity of Long Islanders who have come to the assistance of their neighbors in need. We realize that many families are struggling because of the economy, so we are grateful for any donation we receive, no matter how small,” concluded Ms. Shubin Dresner.
For information on other food drives across Long Island, or to learn how you can help Island Harvest, including by creating a food drive at your school, workplace or house of worship, visit www.islandharvest.org.