The smell of turkey wafting through the air. The sounds of the parade in the background. The peeling and chopping, mincing and slicing, mashing and crumbling, all contrive to make memories every Thanksgiving all across Long Island. We give thanks for our many blessings and then, of course, dig in to what is usually the biggest feast of the year surrounded by friends and family.
Imagine not being able to enjoy the sights, smells and tastes of Thanksgiving Day simply because you can’t afford to buy the groceries you need to make a meal. For some, Thanksgiving Day is like every other, a day when they will go hungry.
That’s why organizations around Long Island collect the food items needed to feed those who can’t afford or are unable to feed themselves. While this is a problem year round, it is especially poignant around the holidays. Below are five Long Island charities who work to make sure that no one will go hungry on Thanksgiving (and the rest of the year as well.)
Image: Island Harvest Facebook page.
Island Harvest - This year, Island Harvest held its 11th annual turkey drive in Bethpage to collect food for Thanksgiving meals. The event was held at Bethpage Federal Credit Union in Bethpage. They collected 2,900 frozen turkeys and 14,604 pounds of food. In a Facebook post the organization said that the generosity of Long Islanders “will go a long way in helping our neighbors struggling to put food on their tables.” In November, island Harvest also announced that it received a $30,000 KidCents Regional Grant through The Rite Aid Foundation to help fund their Kids Weekend Backpack Feeding Program. The Kids Weekend Backpack Feeding Program, established in 2006, provides supplemental food support for school children who rely on their school’s breakfast and lunch program, but often don’t have enough to eat over the weekend. Want to help? Click here.
Islip Food for Hope - This year, over 900 boxes were filled with all the side dishes necessary to make a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, and more than 900 turkeys were collected, all in preparation for distribution to families in need. For more than 20 years, Islip Food for Hope, Inc. has devoted its energy to passionately advocating for the hungry, needy and politically under-represented. "Each year, the number of families able to have a Thanksgiving meal through Islip Food for Hope grows," said Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter in a statement. According to their website, 1 in 8 people nationwide need help from local food banks. Want to help them make a difference? Click here.
Long Island Cares - In 2019, Long Island Cares help their annual adopt-a-family for Thanksgiving food drive. The organization was founded by the late singer-songwriter Harry Chapin and brings together all available resources for the benefit of the hungry and food insecure on Long Island and, to the best of our ability, provides for the humanitarian needs of our community. Want to help them make a difference? Click here.
Lighthouse Mission - The Lighthouse Mission exists to feed the hungry and help the homeless. They are committed to feeding the poor, but they say that their goal is to empower people to overcome poverty and live purpose-filled lives.
The INN - As a not-for-profit, volunteer-based organization, The INN provides a broad variety of essential services to assist those challenged by hunger, homelessness and profound poverty. They run the Mary Brennan INN soup kitchen in Hempstead, the largest soup kitchen on Long Island, serving 300-400 guests five days a week, most days of the year. Much of the food is donated by individuals, schools, religious and community groups, and businesses.