Second annual food drive exceeds goal by 43 percent
Ending hunger and reducing food waste on Long Island is one of the major initiatives Island Harvest tries to achieve, along with moving towards a hunger-free Long Island and providing the highest-quality food, advocacy, resources and services to neighbors in need. Luckily, the non-profit has found a corporate partner to achieve those goals in the shape of PSEG Long Island. Recently, the food bank and the Hicksville-based utility wrapped up Power to Feed Long Island, a summer-long food drive that both organizations collaborated on for the second consecutive year. While the 2021 goal was to get the equivalent of 21,000 meals donated and the end result wound up at 22,000 meals, this year’s food drive smashed all expectations. The 2022 target number was collecting 30,000 meals for local families. By the time the dust had settled and Island Harvest and PSEG Long Island representatives made public the final total at the former’s Melville headquarters, it was revealed that the equivalent of 42,666 meals were collected, a 43 percent up-tick over the initial goal thanks to the generosity of Long Islanders. Helping out with the heavy lifting was local supermarket chain Stop & Shop, which provided six different drop-off sites in Massapequa, Smithtown, Riverhead, Carle Place, East Northport and West Babylon for donors to contribute food, supplies and essential care items. It’s a public effort PSEG Long Island Interim President/COO David Lyons was quick to acknowledge.
“PSEG Long Island’s Power to Feed Long Island initiative has brought out the best in our community and we are overwhelmed by the kindness and generosity of Long Islanders,” David Lyons said. “With their help, we were able to collect 12,616 more meals than the lofty goal of 30,000 we set in June. This is a powerful affirmation of what Long Island is all about. Helping each other is just what we do. I am so proud of our employees who supported these events with their time, money and efforts.”
A big driver for this effort being so successful was the large number of volunteer PSEG Long Island employee-ambassadors who manned these drop-off sites. Count Farmingdale’s Diane Finocchio and Massapequa Park’s Steve Vecchia as being more than happy to roll up their sleeves to help out fellow Long Islanders facing food insecurity.
“There is nothing more rewarding to me than helping those in need,” Finocchio said. “I believe in giving back to the community,and Island Harvest and PSEG Long Island’s Power to Feed Long Island is a great way to do so.”
Vecchia added, “It’s great to volunteer for a great cause to help combat hunger on Long Island. Many of our neighbors need help, especially these days, and it’s great to work for a company that sees the value of helping Long Islanders and is doing something about it.”
With summer representing a time when people’s schedules are packed with vacations and schools being out, food banks take a major hit. Donors are not thinking about food drives and lower income family’s with children don’t have school programs to count on for daily free or reduced-cost breakfast at a time when the food pantry shelves are considerably barer. Complicating matters further are increased inflation rates and continued pandemic fallout, both of which put a major hit on local food programs and emergency feeding programs. Which for Island Harvest Food Bank President/CEO Randi Shubin Dresner, makes this year’s food drive all the more impressive.
“PSEG Long Island’s extraordinary efforts in exceeding the expectations of its second annual Power to Feed Long Island initiative is extremely gratifying,” Shubin Dresner said. “We are grateful for their ongoing commitment to helping improve the lives of our neighbors who face the daily challenge of not having enough to eat. We are also thankful to PSEG Long Island’s employee ambassadors, our partner Stop & Shop and the countless Long Islanders who donated to the PSEG Power to Feed Long Island food drive.”
Corporate collaboration helped drive the initiative and one that Stop & Shop was keen to build on, upping its drop-off sites to six during the company’s second year of involvement with this food drive.
“Stop & Shop is proud to continue our ongoing support of the efforts of Island Harvest to address food insecurity across Long Island,” Stop & Shop Communiyt Relations Manager Stefanie Shuman said. “PSEG Long Island’s Power to Feed Long Island enabled our caring customers to take part in food drives held at Stop & Shop stores across Nassau and Suffolk by helping their neighbors in need. This program underscores that when we work together we can make a difference in assisting those combatting hunger and food insecurity.”
Power To Feed Long Island 2022 Results
In all, 14,897 pounds of food were collected at the six sites, along with $13,367 collected online and in cash donations and gift cards. The breakdown in each area is as follows:
Date Location Pounds Collected Resources Collected Total Equivalent Meals
July 1 Massapequa 3,195 $1,270 5,203
July 22 Smithtown 1,660 $575 2,534*
Aug. 5 Riverhead 1,453 $522 2,255*
Aug. 19 Carle Place 2,151 $369 2,531*
Sept. 2 East Northport 4,159 $1,108 5,682
Sept. 16 West Babylon 6,066 $920 6,895
*These collections were held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. All other collection sites were from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m.
—Submitted by PSEG Long Island
There is still time to make a donation online. Visit www.psegliny.com/feedLI [psegliny.com] for additional information on Power to Feed Long Island or to make an online monetary donation. Island Harvest estimates each dollar donated provides two meals. Visit the PSEG Long Island Flickr page: https://www.flickr.com/photos/psegli/collections/72157721014531983/ [flickr.com] to view photos of the food drives, results event or the kickoff event.