As a social work graduate intern at the Baldwin Public Library, Molly Miskiewicz noticed that many residents were struggling to get food during the coronavirus pandemic, and decided to help.
She posted on social media in mid-March that she could come to people’s homes to pick up any food they would like to donate to local food pantries. The residents would not have to leave their homes, she explained, and she would wear protective personal gear to get the donations from people’s front yards.
Within a week, Miskiewicz’s inbox was flooded with messages from Baldwinites offering to donate, and she has since made “more trips to the Bethany House and St. Christopher’s than I could count,” she said.
“They want to help the community,” Miskiewicz explained, “but they are afraid to leave the house.”
Additionally, she collected thousands of dollars for the food banks in just a few weeks. “It’s truly incredible to see the community come together like this,” Miskiewicz said. “The best of humanity is truly shining during this dark time.”
Now, Miskiewicz would like to expand her efforts to her own community of West Hempstead and its surrounding neighborhoods. She is planning to work with three food pantries in Hempstead and the Mercy First pantry in West Hempstead, but before she reaches out to them, she said, she wants to make sure she gets enough support from Franklin Square, Garden City, West Hempstead and Hempstead residents.
In a flyer she distributed to community members, she wrote that people in these neighborhoods are “considerably generous,” and noted that “times are difficult for everyone.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s statistics for 2018, more than 10 percent of households in New York are food insecure, and in Nassau County, the problem is more pronounced, with the Long Island Health Collaborative, a consortium of the region’s hospitals and health networks, reporting that nearly 24 percent of adults — roughly 1 in 4 — faced food insecurity.
The agency defines food insecurity for households as those that are “uncertain of having or unable to acquire enough food to meet the needs of all their members.”
To help solve that problem, Miskiewicz is now collecting nonperishable goods — including cereal, pasta, canned goods, rice and nonperishable milk products — from the community. To schedule a pick up, please call or text Miskiewicz at (516) 672 - 8607 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteer opportunities are also available.