The holidays are filled with plenty of food — but not for everyone. That’s why Nassau County officials have teamed up with Long Island Cares and Island Harvest food banks to make sure everyone eats on Thanksgiving.
And they’re getting a little celebrity help along the way from singer-songwriter Madison Beer.
Born and raised in Jericho before moving out west to pursue her music career, the 23-year-old Beer returns to Long Island on Wednesday, Nov. 23, to host the “End Hunger Thanksgiving Celebration” at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale.
It doesn’t cost money to attend, but everyone who shows up beginning at 3:30 p.m., are asked to bring at least one non-perishable food item. The celebration will focus on Beer’s accomplishments — beginning with her early days as a teenager on YouTube singing covers of her favorite songs. She shot into stardom after another young performer, Justin Bieber, linked to one of her videos.
Beer also will bring attention to hunger and the culture of giving, according to Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman.
Beer “has become a very, very influential person, especially with the young people throughout the world,” Blakeman said outside of Nassau Coliseum earlier this week. “We are trying to create a culture here in Nassau County and throughout the country — and throughout the world — of giving: Giving to people who need a little bit more help.”
The county also will proclaim Nov. 23 “Madison Beer Day.”
“I always look forward to coming home for the holidays,” Beer said in a statement. “But it’s that much sweeter coming home for an event like this one that will help so many.”
Beer has more than 30 million followers on Instagram and Twitter, Blakeman said.
“She’s somebody that — certainly people throughout the world, and especially young people — have recognized as someone that is very, very talented,” he said. “We’re so happy that she is coming back to Nassau County so we can honor her, but at the same time give back to the community and make sure that everybody gets the food that they require so that they can have a happy holiday.”
Randi Shubin Dresner, the president and chief executive of Island Harvest, told reporters it was “very kind,” of Blakeman to involve the two food banks in this program.
Beer, she said, is someone who “knows about our community, and clearly she understands that there are so many people who are struggling here on Long Island. With the rising costs at the gas pump and the rising costs at the supermarket, people who were just making ends meet are now having to struggle and find additional dollars to just feed their family and put food on the table.”
Donations are down right now, according to Jessica Rosati, chief programs officer for Long Island Cares.
Yet between the two organizations, well over 20 million pounds of food is distributed across Long Island, Dresner said. And that number has increased “quite a bit” from pre-pandemic times.
Seating for the celebration is limited to 15,000, and requires advanced registration at NassauCountyNY.gov. Doors open at 3:30 p.m., with the show starting at 5.