Pulling The Plug On Hunger

PSEG Long Island launches second annual ‘Power to Feed Long Island’ food drive
Island Harvest Food Bank CEO Randi Shubin-Dresner (at podium) thanks PSEG Long Island for its continued support in the fight against hunger at the kickoff of the utility’s Power To Feed Long Island food collection initiative at the Massapequa Stop & Shop on June 21.
(Photo courtesy of PSEG Long Island)

When PSEG Long Island teamed up with Island Harvest Food Bank last year to kick off the inaugural Power to Feed Long Island summer-long food drive, the goal was to get the equivalent of 21,000 meals donated. In the end, 22,000 donated meals were the result of Long Islanders coming out in force to donate food, supplies and essential care items at six different drop-off sites throughout the summer.
This year’s goal is collecting 30,000 meals for local families. And while Stop & Shop provided a few of their stores for Long Islanders to help the less fortunate in 2021, this year all six donation locations will be at Stop & Shops in Massapequa, Carle Place, East Northport, Smithtown, Riverhead and West Babylon. It’s an initiative spurred on by the pandemic, when PSEG Long Island was looking for a way to interact with its charitable partner Island Harvest at a time when COVID-19 restrictions were dictating plenty of social distancing and isolation, according to PSEG Long Island Corporate Communications representative Amy DiLeo.
“We’ve had a relationship with Island Harvest and last year we went to them and asked what we could do,” DiLeo said. “We knew that donations usually increase around the holidays. A lot of people like to give around Thanksgiving. Our concern was that because of the pandemic and that people were out of work, our community service had really dropped. Because of the pandemic, we couldn’t really do the face-to-face service that we had been doing. We were trying to figure out how we could get our employees involved in the community and figuring out the best way to do that. We went to Island Harvest and they explained that the pandemic had obviously put a dent in their food stores. Along with that, donations drop in the summer, which we didn’t know. We were being informed of that for the first time.”

Hundreds of thousands of Long Island families struggle with hunger and food insecurity throughout the year. During the summer months, there is a significant reduction in food donations to local food banks, pantries and programs. Compounding the issue, children are not in school where they can receive free and reduced-cost breakfast and lunch. In addition, the pandemic and increased inflation rate have further strained local food pantries and emergency feeding programs served by Island Harvest.

Anti-hunger advocates and government officials recently gathered at the Massapequa Stop & Shop to donate food and money and call on Long Islanders to take action to support neighbors facing food insecurity. Beginning July 1 and continuing through the end of September, collection drives will be set up at six different Stop & Shop supermarkets across Long Island, where community members can donate non-perishable food and essential care items. This year’s goal is to collect the equivalent of 30,000 healthy, nutritious meals for Long Island families struggling to put food on their tables. This goal recognizes Island Harvest’s 30th anniversary this year.
“We are kicking off our second annual Power to Feed Long Island campaign with Island Harvest and Stop & Shop because hundreds of thousands of our neighbors still need our help,” PSEG Long Island interim president/COO David Lyons said. “Last year, PSEG Long Island’s Power to Feed Long Island created a venue for Long Islanders to help fight food insecurity, and they responded with bags, carts and trunks filled with thousands of pounds of food for their neighbors. Thanks to their generosity, we exceeded our 21,000-meal goal in 2021. This year, we are proud to donate and we encourage everyone to continue to be part of the solution, because there is still hunger in every ZIP code. This initiative is just one of the many ways PSEG Long Island and our employees support our communities.”

PSEG Long Island interim President and COO Dave Lyons (center) and Power to Feed Long Island employee ambassadors (in orange shirts) celebrated the kickoff of the company’s summer-long anti-hunger initiative with (from left) Stop & Shop’s Stefanie Shuman, Island Harvest’s Randi Shubin Dresner, The Reverend Claire Nesmith of Nourish Babylon Soup Kitchen and Assemblyman Michael D’Urso.

While this year’s is a lofty goal, both PSEG Long Island and Stop and Shop got the ball rolling with the former donating $1,000 and the latter kicking in $1,000 worth of gift cards, which is the equivalent of 4,000 meals.
Island Harvest estimates each dollar donated provides roughly two meals.
DiLeo feels the seasonality of Power to Feed Long Island is a big part of what makes this program so crucial at tackling such a widespread problem.
“There are hundreds and thousands of people on Long Island that are hungry every day,” she said. “It’s in every single zip code, which people really don’t understand. You don’t know people’s situations behind their closed doors. You don’t know who lost their job and you don’t know who’s been struggling for whatever reason. Summertime is a great time to help them boost donations and put food and supplies on their shelves so it can be distributed to different food pantries and other programs that are around on the Island and can be distributed directly to consumers.”

Suggested Donation Items

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, 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.

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.
—Submitted by Island Harvest

Donation Sites

Members of the public are encouraged to come to the Stop & Shop sites and donate non-perishable food items. Collection bins and a contactless, drive-thru, drop-off option will be available at each location. The first collection event will be held all day on July 1. The remaining five food drives will take place on subsequent Fridays as follows:

July 1 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.
702 Hicksville Rd., Massapequa
July 22 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
291 West Main St., Smithtown
Aug. 5 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
1615 Old Country Rd., Riverhead
Aug. 19 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
95 Old Country Rd., Carle Place
Sept. 2 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
3126 Jericho Tpke., East Northport
Sept. 16 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
575 West Montauk Hwy., West Babylon

—Submitted by PSEG Long Island

Local Agencies Receiving Aid From Island Harvest

St. Rose of Lima, 2 Bayview Ave.
Powered by Christ, 138 N. Linden St.
Church of God of Prophecy, 900 Old Sunrise Hwy.

CNGC – Hicksville (non-emergency food pantry), 950 S. Oyster Bay Rd.
Hicksville United Methodist Church, 130 W. Old Country Rd.
St. Ignatius, 20 East Cherry St.
Our Lady of Mercy Parish Services, 500 South Oyster Bay Rd.
Boys & Girls Club, 79 West Old Country Rd.

St. Killian’s Social Ministry, 140 Elizabeth St.
Hope for the Future, 131 Verdi St.

Visit www.psegliny.com/feedLI [www.psegliny.com] For additional information on Power to Feed Long Island or to make an online monetary donation. Visit www.psegliny.com/myaccount/customersupport/financialassistance [www.psegliny.com] 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.

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