Responding to the growing needs of low-income seniors and persons with disabilities who may not have access to supplemental food assistance, Island Harvest, Long Island’s largest hunger relief organization, today unveiled its new mobile food pantry. The latest tool in Island Harvest’s fight against hunger on Long Island is designed to bring food to those who cannot access local soup kitches, food pantries and other feeding programs due to the lack of such resources, inadequate public transportation, or because of physical limitations.
The mobile food pantry was presented at a ceremonial ribbon cutting at the Allyn P. Robinson Village in Central Islip, which is run by the Town of Islip Housing Authority. The event was attended by hunger relief advocates, locally elected officials and Island Harvest staff and volunteers.
Catholic Charities estimates that 40,000 persons aged 60 or over on Long Island are living on $1,000 per month or less. Island Harvest’s mobile food pantry presently serves 300 low-income seniors and persons with disabilities at subsidized senior housing complexes in Central Islip, East Hampton and Freeport. More sites will be added as funding allows.
Funding for the mobile unit was provided by private donations from Michael Goldberg, the Turan Family Foundation, the Horace and Amy Hagedorn Fund at the New York Community Trust, the Pine Family and the Laura B. Vogler Foundation. The New York State Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program, through a five-yer grant, partially underwrites the purchase of food product including proteins, grains and locally grown fresh fruits and vegetables from east end farms. The mobile pantry also offers clients such vital services as benefits counseling, health screenings, tax preparation assistance and cooking demonstrations through existing relationships with other human services nonprofit organizations.
The mobile food pantry vehicle is a 35-foot Wildwood Toy Hauler trailer towed by a Dodge Ram 2500 diesel pickup truck. Food is transported in the back of the Toy Hauler. The vehicle, which can carry up to 2,000 pounds of food, is also equipped with a stove for cooking demonstrations and contains areas for private consultations with clients.
“People struggling with hunger may not have the means to get to nutritiously adequate food, nor have transportation to access local feeding programs,” said Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO, Island Harvest. “By mobilizing resources that brings healthy food directly to people who need it we can help ensure that no one on Long Island will do without such a basic element of life as food.”
“With the holidays just around the corner, the cooperation between Island Harvest and the Town of Islip Housing Authority has provided the community with a great asset in the fight against hunger,” said Islip Town Supervisor Phil Nolan. “The mobile food pantry allows Island Harvest to help all of our residents, no matter their location, in this ongoing struggle.”
The mobile food pantry vehicle is a 33-foot Wildwood Toy Hauler trailer towed by a Dodge Ram 2500 diesel pickup truck. Food is transported in the back of the Toy Hauler. The vehicle is also equipped with a stove for cooking demonstrations, and contains areas for discreet consultations with clients.
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. Nearly 300,000 Long Islanders — over one-third of them children — face hunger every day, according to Island Harvest and Feeding America, a national hunger relief organization. Approximately 70,000 individuals seek food assistance in Nassau and Suffolk Counties each week through soup kitchens, food pantries and other feeding programs.
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 71 million pounds of food, supplementing nearly 54 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.