Despite the reputation of Long Island as a prosperous suburban area, hunger is a very
real fact of life for many families here as well. According to recent statistics, the two major
food banks on Long Island, Island Harvest and LI Cares, provide emergency food for an
estimated 316,000 Long Islanders every year. Approximately 64,900 different people
receive emergency food every week. At the Long Island Community Foundation our
Grantmaking is striving to reduce or alleviate hunger in our region.
Nearly 30 percent of Long Islanders are 55 or older and the Long Island Community Foundation wants to make sure homebound seniors stay active, healthy, and well fed. Low-income seniors with limited mobility have difficulty getting to the supermarket, much less paying for nutritious food. Of New Cassel’s 14,000 residents, 24 percent live at or below the poverty level, nearly five times the Nassau County rate. With our help, EAC Network in Hempstead is providing door-to-door delivery of fresh produce for these elders with its new Fresh from the Garden Senior Initiative.
Almost 154,000 of the nearly 2.8 million New Yorkers currently receiving food stamps live on Long Island. An estimated 20 percent of these households receive insufficient benefits due to administrative errors and, as a result, struggle to afford basic necessities. Effective advocacy can ensure food stamp recipients get the benefits to which they are entitled. We are funding programs with Mercy Haven to conduct evaluations and seminars with legal representatives for homeless and formerly-homeless clients on their entitlements, including food stamps.
With funding from the Long Island Community Foundation, Island Harvest operates a twice-monthly senior mobile food pantry at the Glen Cove Housing Authority. The program serves nearly 100 low-income seniors a month with fresh produce and other nutritional supplements. In addition, Island Harvest distributes non-food items, such as adult diapers and information on preventing falls, healthy living, exercise and other topics.