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Island Harvest to distribute food to those in need

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Hempstead Town officials handed out hundreds of boxes of food to Elmont residents in need last Friday, and announced a new program with Island Harvest to ensure that nobody within the town goes hungry as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

“This pandemic has brought many challenges to our table, and one of the most serious is the abundant concern for food,” said Town Supervisor Don Clavin. “No one should struggle to obtain a meal. We aligned with Island Harvest with one goal in common: Ensure no one in the Town of Hempstead goes hungry during this holiday season.”

The town board recently approved a $400,000 grant using funding from the town’s $133 million federal CARES Act fund for the food bank’s No One Should Go Hungry in Hempstead program, he said, which will run through the end of the month. The program will begin with Island Harvest distributing 4,500 health and shelf-stale food boxes to seniors at a variety of drop-off points and 15 low-income senior housing sites. Seniors make up 16 percent of the town’s population and are the most likely to experience food insecurity, officials said, and the boxes will include food support resources for them, nutrition information and the contact information for Island Harvest Food Bank’s Community Empowerment Team, which can help residents apply for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.

Island Harvest will also hold four food distribution events over the course of two weeks to provide families and students with 4,000 boxes of healthy food,, such as meat, fresh produce and dairy products. Additionally, the food bank will distribute 400 shelf-stable food boxes per week to the Long Island Federally Qualified Health Centers in Elmont, Roosevelt, Hempstead and Freeport. Many patients at these health centers are low-income, town officials said, and are at risk of becoming food insecure.

“Supervisor Don Clavin and the town board have been invaluable partners in helping us provide much-needed food assistance to thousands of Town of Hempstead residents who have suddenly found themselves in the unenviable position of not having enough to eat,” Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO of Island Harvest Food Bank, said in a statement. “Thanks to their support and advocacy, we’re helping make sure that no one goes without such a basic need as food, and on behalf of the people we serve, we thank them for their efforts.”