(Mineola, NY) — High unemployment and continued economic uncertainty have created record demand for emergency and supplemental food assistance among Long Island’s soup kitchens, food pantries and other feeding programs. As 2010 draws to a close, Island Harvest, Long Island’s largest hunger relief organization, has distributed 8 million pounds of food this year to approximately 570 agencies that provide food support to over 285,000 Long Islanders — including 110,000 children — who face the risk of hunger every day. This is a record for the Mineola-based organization, which in 2009 distributed 6.5 million pounds of food among its member agencies.
To mark the occasion, and unveil a new tool in the fight against hunger, Long Island’s county executives and representatives from Island Harvest and several agencies it serves were joined by officials from the Walmart Foundation, which donated a new, 24-foot refrigerated truck to Island Harvest. The truck was dedicated at a food distribution held at the Nassau Coliseum as the 8 millionth pound of food was passed to agencies in attendance.
“It is through the generosity of the Walmart Foundation, the support from our elected leaders like County Executives Levy and Mangano and donations from individuals, children, and businesses across Long Island that we are able to help those who know hunger first hand,” said Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO of Island Harvest. “This new truck from the Walmart Foundation will enable us to move even more food to those who need it most.”
“Unfortunately, many neighbors and fellow residents face the very real question of where their next meal will come from,” said Mangano. “Groups like Island Harvest do everything possible to answer that question, and we all need to help them achieve that goal. I applaud Randi and Island Harvest for the dedication it continues to show in making sure nobody on Long Island goes hungry.”
“We must face the fact that there are people who go hungry in this country every day. These are our neighbors and people we see throughout our daily lives,” said Margaret McKenna, president of the Walmart Foundation. “This issue has to be top of mind when we sit down at dinner and when we eat breakfast, and we all have to commit to doing something to help. If all of us give one can of food or volunteer one hour at a food bank, if we all do one thing, together we can end hunger in this country.”
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 over 570 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 more than 63 million pounds of food, supplementing nearly 49 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 education, outreach, advocacy, job training and hunger awareness programs. Island Harvest is a member of Feeding America. For more information about Island Harvest, visit www.islandharvest.org.
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