Summer Drive To Stave Off Hunger

Food drives key to Power to Feed Long Island initiative

As if picking up the pieces from the aftermath of natural disasters like Hurricane Ida were not enough, PSEG Long Island has teamed up with Island Harvest Food Bank to conduct a summer food drive dubbed Power to Feed Long Island. The goal is to collect the equivalent of 21,000 meals for local families struggling to put food on their tables. a glaring issue in the aftermath of the ongoing pandemic.

There have already been four food drives centered on contactless drive-thru areas and collection bins held at Stop & Shop locations in Islandia and Massapequa along with one at the Stew Leonard’s in East Meadow and the King Kullen in Shirley. The next two food drives are scheduled on Friday, Sept. 17 (Stop & Shop in Huntington Station) and Friday, Sept. 24 (King Kullen in Garden City Park). And whereas the times for these other events ran from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 17 is Hunger Action Day and as a result, PSEG Long Island will be setting up the Huntington Station drop to have more of a carnival atmosphere with music, a guess how many pounds of food game and extended hours that run from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Farmingdale’s Christine Restani, who is also a PSEG Long Island employee and ambassador, pitching in at the Aug. 6 food drive held at the Massapequa Stop & Shop location
(Photo courtesy of PSEG Long Island)

Helping out with the heavy lifting are PSEG Long Island employees who volunteer to become Ambassadors for this initiative. Farmingdale’s Christine Restani is grateful to be able to do something charitable through her employer.
“It’s a pillar of our organization to give back to our communities and our employees are all very dedicated and enjoy giving back to the communities where we live and work,” she said. “We really care about our customers and it’s really important to us that we get out and help others.”

The Power to Feed Long Island initiative is being held during this time of the year due to how challenging a time this season can be for food banks, local pantries and other supplemental feeding programs for people at risk of food insecurity. Children who may normally receive reduced-cost breakfast and lunch at school don’t have that resource during the summer months. Likewise, giving to charity at a time when many people are on vacation isn’t as pressing a thought as it may be during the holidays. Over the past year and a half, the pandemic and its after-effects put a significant strain on the supplemental food supply chain, with Island Harvest Food Bank helping feed 600,000 families challenged with food insecurity in 2020, double the number of the previous year.

Island Harvest Food Bank President/CEO Randi Shubin Dresner was adamant in emphasizing how much worse food scarcity became once COVID-19 arrived.
“Before the pandemic, Island Harvest Food Bank provided supplemental, regular food support to approximately 300,000 food-insecure Long Islanders,” Shubin Dresner explained. “Last year, that number expanded two-fold, which is why keeping a steady supply of healthy food to our neighbors in need is so important. We are grateful to PSEG Long Island and our supermarket partners King Kullen, Stew Leonard’s and Stop & Shop for their continued caring and generosity in helping us make sure that no one on Long Island goes hungry.”

Massapequa’s Diane Finocchio is also a PSEG Long Island employee and ambassador
(Photo courtesy of PSEG Long Island)

PSEG Long Island employee Diane Finocchio of Massapequa is gearing up to be an ambassador at one of the remaining events. The idea of someone going hungry in this day and age is a troubling notion for her.
“When I think about food insecurity, I try to imagine how difficult it must be for people who don’t know when their next meal will be,” she said. “I think it’s an important cause, and with the pandemic it got more difficult. Loss of income means lower donations, so I think this initiative is great to draw awareness to the need for donations.”
At all these upcoming events and locations, representatives from PSEG Long Island and Island Harvest Food Bank will be available to provide information on low-income programs and money-saving energy efficiency options. They will also help coordinate contactless drop-offs through a drive-thru donation area.

Additionally, information will be available from PSEG Long Island on electric service payment plans and programs and ways to save money through energy efficiency options.

Visit [] for additional information on Power to Feed Long Island. Visit [] for more information on PSEG Long Island’s assistance and payment programs for customers experiencing financial hardship, For information about Island Harvest and for help with food insecurity issues, call 631-873-4775.


What To Donate

Island Harvest has a need for specific items, including:

Nonperishable Food
Healthy varieties of canned foods, such as: low-sodium beans, vegetables, soups, pasta sauces and tomato varieties, tuna and chicken, along with rice, pasta, nut butters, olive and canola oil, spices and pet food (no glass containers please).

Household Essentials
Toilet paper, paper towels, hand sanitizer, laundry detergent and dish soap.

Personal Care Items
Toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, soap, shampoo, conditioner, feminine care products and shaving products, antibacterial wipes and washcloths.

Baby Care Items
Diapers, wipes, formula, creams, ointments and baby wash.


Dave Gil de Rubio
In addition to being editor of theNassau Observer, Dave Gil de Rubio is a regular contributor to Long Island Weekly, specializing in music and sports features. He has won several awards for writing from Press Club of Long Island (PCLI), New York Press Association (NYPA) and Fair Media Council (FMC).

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