While many might think that food insecurity is not a reality on Long Island, another well-established organization has answered the call for a growing need in Nassau. Several months ago, the Islamic Center of Long Island (ICLI) in Westbury expanded its social reach to include a food pantry on Brush Hollow Road for distributions to church pantries.
Westbury Mayor Peter Cavallaro, who helped secure funding for the ICLI center, said he felt strongly about hunger in the community. He recalled preparing food boxes as a boy; his mother Johanna co-founded the parish outreach at St. Brigid’s that eventually resulted in the food pantry.
ICLI Board of Trustees President Habeeb Ahmed noted that the ICLI has worked with many food pantries, including those at St. Brigid’s Church and the Neighborhood House in Westbury, as well as St. Aidan’s in Williston Park and several synagogues.
A single distribution center is not single-handedly answering the needs of Long Islanders. Other long-established organizations have doubled and tripled their distributions, and over the course of nine months, including well-known charities like Long Island Cares and Island Harvest.
For those who have been laid off from their jobs or are simply struggling to provide meals for their children and families, food pantries on Long Island are looking to help people combat food insecurity during this time.
Island Harvest, a food bank whose mission is to end hunger and reduce food waste on Long Island, has been working tirelessly amid this pandemic to ensure that people don’t go hungry.
“From March through November, Island Harvest Food Bank has provided supplemental food support to more than 400,000 Long Island families, many of whom have never sought food assistance before,” according to Randi Shubin Dresner, president & CEO, Island Harvest Food Bank. “The unprecedented health crisis and the resulting economic downturn has led to a surge in demand for food, and forced Island Harvest Food Bank to increase its purchases of food by 500 percent, spending nearly $3 million to make sure that no one on LI goes hungry.”
Island Harvest Food Bank has distributed more than 9.4 million meals at 1,000 events across Nassau and Suffolk counties between March and November, representing a 52 percent increase over the same period last year. Shubin Dresner expects the need for food support to continue through 2021.
—Additional reporting by Frank Rizzo and Caroline Ryan
Nassau County Food Pantries:
Feed My Sheep Food Pantry
211 Jericho Tpke. Old Westbury
First Sun. and third Thurs. (call for hours)
75 Post Ave. Westbury
Week days (call for hours)
Lutheran Social Service of New York
311 Uniondale Ave., Uniondale
Mon., Tues., Thurs., Fri. 9 a.m. to noon.
E Joy Community Resource Center, Inc.
56 Orchard St., Roslyn Heights
Tues. through Thurs. (call for hours)
Shelter Rock Church Food Pantry
65 Hight St., Manhasset
Tues. 5 to 6:30 p.m.
St. Peter Of Alcantara Parish
1327 Port Washington Blvd., Port Washington
Mon. through Thurs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
St. Aloysius Church
592 Middle Neck Rd., Great Neck
Every other Sat. 8:30 to 10:15 a.m.
St. Patrick’s Outreach
235 Glen St. Glen Cove
Tues and Thurs. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Glen Cove After 3 Pantry
70 Forest Ave. Glen Cove,
Mon. 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
145 Glen Ave., Sea Cliff
Wed. and Sat. 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Our Lady Of Mercy
500 South Oyster Bay Rd., Hicksville
Tues. though Fri. (call for hours)
St. Martin Of Tours/St. Vincent De Paul
208 Broadway, Bethpage
Mon. and Thurs. (call for hours)
St. Kilian Outreach
140 Elisabeth St. Farmingdale,
Tues. and Fri. 9 a.m. to noon.
St. Bernard’s Parish Social Ministry
3100 Hempstead Tpke., Levittown
Mon. through Sat. (call for hours)