Economic Downturn Continues to Strain Hunger Relief Organizations As Island Harvest Kicks off 6th Annual Holiday Turnkey and Trimmings Collection Campaign
November 3, 2008
Pre-campaign requests for over 25,000 holiday turkeys eclipses last year’s total demand
(Mineola, N.Y.) As the economic conditions remain uncertain with no foreseeable recovery in sight, Island Harvest, Long Island’s largest hunger relief organization, has seen a sharp increase in the number of people seeking emergency food assistance. The current economy has also contributed to a rise in the number of holiday turkey requests as Island Harvest today kicked off its annual Turkey and Trimmings Collection Campaign. To date, there have been requests for over 25,000 holiday turkeys, according to Randi Shubin Dresner, president and chief executive officer of Island Harvest.
The popular Turkey and Trimmings Collection Campaign, which runs from November 1 through December 31, 2008, helps those less fortunate enjoy a nutritious holiday-style meal. Last year, Island Harvest collected slightly under 9,000 turkeys and more than one million pounds of canned and packaged food during November and December, which in turn, was distributed among Island Harvest’s nearly 600 nonprofit member agencies. The collection also enabled those agencies to stock pantry shelves to help meet ongoing food needs during the tough winter months.
This year, all Waldbaum’s stores in Nassau and Suffolk, will be joined by all Long Island Pathmark locations in promoting the Turkey and Trimmings Collection Campaign, which allows customers the opportunity to purchase a pre-packaged bag of the trimmings for a typical holiday dinner, which will then be donated to Island Harvest to help feed a needy family. Waldbaum’s and Pathmark will generously match these donations with a turkey to complete the holiday meal (up to the first 1,000 trimmings bags purchased).
“The Great Atlantic & Pacific Tea Company is really proud to be participating once again in the Turkey and Trimmings Collection Campaign,” said Eric Kanterman, Regional Vice President of Pathmark Operations. “Through our associates’ efforts and the generosity of our customers, we sold nearly 12,000 trimmings bags in our Waldbaum’s stores last year. This year with our Pathmark stores joining in the effort, we plan to sell even more in support of Island Harvest’s critical fight against hunger.”
“Starting near the end of 2007, we witnessed a steady increase in the demand for food assistance among our member agencies,” explains Ms. Dresner. “As 2008 wore on and the price for basic items such as food, gasoline and other essential items began to drastically rise, food pantries, soup kitchens and other organizations we serve began seeing more and more working and middle class people looking for help. We expect that trend to continue through the heating season as Long Islanders struggle with increased costs for home heating oil.” According to Hunger in America 2006—Local Report for Long Island, over 259,000 Long Islanders face the risk of going hungry each day, including 93,000 children.
Island Harvest asks Long Island businesses, schools and organizations to join this year’s Turkey and Trimmings Collection Campaign by becoming an event sponsor or hosting a food collection drive. “We will gladly accept turkeys and non-perishable food from any community-based food drives, including giving employees the opportunity to donate the turkey they receive from their employers to Island Harvest,” added Ms. Dresner.
“Unfortunately, hunger is a year-round issue on Long Island, but it is expected to be more difficult this winter as the economy continues to falter and many families will be faced with the unenviable choice of paying to keep their lights on, their homes warm and their families fed,” notes Ms. Dresner. “Hopefully, the generosity of all Long Islanders will come through for us once again as we help to make the holidays a little brighter for those less fortunate.”
Long Islanders are encouraged to donate a turkey, supermarket turkey coupons, ham or other meat, non-perishable food items, supermarket gift cards or money to help Island Harvest in its mission to end hunger and reduce food waste on Long Island by stopping by one of the numerous food collection events throughout the drive, or bringing non-perishable food donations to local drop-off locations throughout Nassau and Suffolk counties. For a complete listing of food drives, please visit our Web site at www.islandharvest.org.
About Island Harvest
Fighting hunger and touching lives, Island Harvest serves as the bridge between those who have surplus food and those who need it, supplying hundreds of community-based nonprofit organizations on Long Island with critical food support to help stem the advancing tide of hunger in our communities. Island Harvest has delivered 50 million pounds of food, supplementing more than 38 million meals, since its inception in 1992. In support of its mission to end hunger and reduce food waste on Long Island, the organization is actively involved in educational and hunger awareness programs to inform the public about the insidious but often unrecognized problem of hunger here, in one of the wealthiest regions of the country, and how individuals, businesses, schools and commercial food establishments can make a difference. Island Harvest is a member of Feeding America (formerly America’s Second Harvest). For more information about Island Harvest, visit www.islandharvest.org or call 516-294-8528.
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