MINEOLA, NY ―November 21, 2014 ― Island Harvest Food Bank, Long Island’s largest hunger relief organization, has reported a need for an additional 2,000 turkeys before Thanksgivng to help serve the 570 soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters and other emergency feeding programs it serves across Long Island. According to Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO of Island Harvest, the Mineola-based organization is also seeing fewer donations and is appealing for food or funds to help those who are less fortunate enjoy a holiday meal.
In past years, as part of Island Harvest’s annual Turkey and Trimmings Collection Campaign, the demand for holiday turkeys has been as high as 42,000. In its best years, the campaign has generated between 12,000 and 15,000 turkeys during the months of November and December. Unfortunately, as of Friday, the collection has only reached approximately 5,300 hundred turkeys.
“Long Islander’s have always come through during the holiday season to help our neighbors in need enjoy a warm, traditional holiday style meal,” said Ms. Shubin Dresner. “We realize that many families are struggling because of the economy and we are grateful for any donation, no matter how small.” Island Harvest is in need of frozen turkeys, canned or dry goods, supermarket gift cards or funds.
Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service (USDA) has reported that in 2013, 49.1 million Americans — including 86 million children — were food insecure, meaning they lack consistent access to a nutritious, well-balanced diet. Locally, more than 316,000 Long Islanders are at risk of hunger each day according to a study conducted with Feeding America, Island Harvest and the region’s hunger relief agencies. Each week nearly 45,000 people access emergency or supplemental feeding programs throughout Nassau and Suffolk County.
“Unemployment rate, the high cost of living on Long Island, and an uncertain economy tells just one part of the story,” explains Ms. Shubin Dresner about the spike in for food assistance. “There are many Long Islanders who are under-employed, not earning what they used to, and are struggling to make ends meet.” The economy has changed the face of hunger on Long Island and more working families are seeking help, some of whom were formerly donors to Island Harvest, according to Ms. Shubin Dresner.
For more information visit: www.islandharvest.org or call 516-294-8528.
About Island Harvest
Long Island’s largest hunger relief organization, Island Harvest Food Bank provides food and non-food items for people who are hungry and in need, giving them a voice to help them transition from uncertainty to stability. Island Harvest’s mission is to end hunger and reduce food waste on Long Island through efficient food and product collection and distribution systems; enhanced hunger awareness and nutrition education programs, job training, targeted services for specific populations, and outreach and advocacy activities and initiatives. Island Harvest is the region’s lead agency in emergency response readiness for food and product distribution and support and is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger relief charity. For more information visit www.islandharvest.org.
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Contact: Don Miller
516-629-3286 or 516-330-1647 (cell)