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‘A whole new experience’ for local food pantry

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After expanding its Valley Stream hours to accommodate growing demand, fresh food supplier OurHarvest is able to donate more frequently to the Church of the Blessed Sacrament food pantry, as per the company’s agreement to make donations for every order it receives over $25.

“The pantry is basically non-perishable things … When we get the chopped meat and we give that out, it’s like a whole new experience for people that come here,” said Judy Miccio, parish social ministry director at the church. She said that people often remark about the quality of the donations and ask where they came from.

“It gives them a feeling of — they’re just as important as anybody else,” Miccio said. “They’re not just coming here and getting anything that we can give them.”

OurHarvest added its Valley Stream location last March, its fourteenth location at the time. The company takes hundreds of orders online and delivers them at locations in East Meadow, Plainview, New Hyde Park, Roslyn, Port Washington, Huntington, Garden City, Flushing, Queens, makes deliveries in Manhattan, and identified a demand for their product in Hoboken, N.J.

“It really started because we think there’s a clamoring for people here on Long Island for high quality fresh food,” said Scott Reich, who founded the company with his childhood friend, Michael Winik, in July 2014. “And people have started to move away from the traditional supermarket experience because they want food that they know where it comes from, and is at an affordable price and sourced locally that they can enjoy.”

Reich said that by the time food makes it to the shelf at traditional grocery stores, it’s no longer fresh. Stores need to process deliveries, items sit in crates and shelves need to be packed out by employees — all of which takes time.

“When you take all these things together, ours is a more transparent, twenty-first century system that we think is more sustainable and represents the future of food in the United States.”

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