Bethpage, NY - November 6th, 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.
About Hunger on Long Island
Hunger is a state in which people do not get enough food to provide the nutrients for active and healthy lives. It can result from the recurrent and involuntary lack of access to food. More than 316,000 Long Islanders face the risk of hunger every day, according to Island Harvest and Feeding America, a national hunger-relief organization. These are often hard-working adults, children, seniors and veterans who cannot always make ends meet and are often forced to go without food. Approximately 70,000 individuals seek food assistance in Nassau and Suffolk counties each week through soup kitchens, food pantries and other feeding programs served by Island Harvest.
About Island Harvest Food Bank
Island Harvest Food Bank is a leading hunger-relief organization that provides food and other resources to people in need. Always treating those it helps with dignity and respect, its goal is to end hunger and reduce poverty on Long Island through efficient food collection and distribution; enhanced hunger-awareness and nutrition-education programs; job training; and direct services targeted at children, senior citizens, veterans and others at risk. Approximately 94 cents of every dollar donated to Island Harvest goes to programs that support more than 316,000 Long Islanders. Island Harvest is a lead agency in the region’s emergency-response preparedness for food and product distribution, and is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s leading domestic hunger-relief charity. More information can be found at www.islandharvest.org.