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Hempstead allocates $2M for food banks


The Town of Hempstead has allotted $2 million of a $133 million federal aid package toward 14 food banks across the town to help ensure residents in need are fed during the Covid-19 pandemic, officials said Tuesday.

Announcement of the allocation, made with the nonprofit Long Island Cares food bank, was the first act of the town’s newly created Economic Relief Advisory Committee, which will recommend how funds from the federal government’s economic stimulus package should be distributed.

“Nobody in our town will go hungry because of the hardships they have experienced due to the Covid-19 pandemic,” Town Supervisor Donald Clavin Jr., a Republican from Garden City, said. “Between many of our residents losing their jobs and the grocery stores struggling to meet demand, this funding will keep our food banks stocked for the next couple of months so our residents can be reassured with quality meals.”

Food distribution centers, run by Long Island Cares staff, will be located in Baldwin, Elmont, Lawrence, Roosevelt and other communities, and will be open two days a week for a total of eight hours. Times are subject to change depending on community need.

For more information about where the food banks are located or how to schedule a pick-up or delivery, visit licares.org or call (631) 582-3663.

Each family will receive a 20-pound box of food that can feed up to six people for a week. Each box will contain non-perishable, nutritious food, and staples such as milk and juice. Pet food will be provided if needed, and fresh produce will be available when possible.

The federal funding will also support the Nassau Center for Collaborative Assistance, Long Island Cares’s satellite location in Freeport, and will go toward food distribution in Hempstead, Uniondale, Merrick, Bellmore and Oceanside.

Clavin thanked U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer, a Democrat from New York City, and the Long Island congressional delegation for helping to secure the stimulus funding.

He added, “We’re very fortunate to have Governor Cuomo’s historic leadership at this very desperate time in our state’s history. Our town government looks forward to working with the county and state governments to ensure these funds are used appropriately and efficiently to produce the greatest possible outcome for our communities.”

“The launch of the economic relief advisory committee is the first of many steps that will be taken over the next couple of months to regain economic stability for our town, its businesses and residents,” said Town Councilwoman Dorothy Goosby, a Democrat who represents the 1stCouncilmatic District, and who contracted the coronavirus and recovered.   

The town’s Economic Relief Advisory Committee comprises leaders from business, labor, education and the community, and includes:

Joe Belluck, Attorney and Founding Partner of Belluck & Fox, LLP: Before helping to found Belluck & Fox, a firm that specializes in mesothelioma cases, 18 years ago, Belluck took on large tobacco companies as the State of New York representative.

John Durso, President of the Long Island Federation of Labor: Durso represents workers in the supermarket, health care, pharmacy, delivery, dairy and retail food service industries. He is also international vice president of the United Food and Commercial Workers, and vice president of the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.

Charles Fuschillo Jr., President and CEO of Alzheimer’s Foundation of America: Before joining the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America in 2013, Fuschillo served 16 years in the New York State Senate, drafting more than 200 laws.

Margarita Grasing, Executive Director of Hispanic Brotherhood: Grasing is also a former board member of the Rockville Centre Education Foundation, Nassau County HIV Commission and County Coalition of Youth Agencies.    

Kevin Law, President and CEO of the Long Island Association:  Law is focused on fostering economic development and improving Long Island’s business climate. He is co-chair to the Long Island Regional Economic Development Council and was formerly a trustee of the Long Island Power Authority and chief deputy county executive in Suffolk County.

Mitchell Pally, Chief Executive Officer of the Long Island Builders Institute: As CEO of LIBI, Pally works to foster home ownership across Long Island. He was also chief counsel to the New York State Senate Committee on Transportation and the Legislative Commission on Critical Transportation Choices.

Geoffrey Prime, Mayor of Incorporated Village of South Floral Park: Aside from his mayoral duties, Prime is a criminal defense attorney and founding partner of Prime & O’Brien in Garden City. He is the past chairman of the Nassau Community College Board of Trustees.

Stuart Rabinowitz, President of Hofstra University: Before becoming Hofstra’s president in 2001, Rabinowitz was dean of its law school. As president, he founded the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine, Peter S. Kalikow School of Government and Fred DeMattheis School of Engineering and Applied Science, as well as the National Center for Suburban Studies and the Center for Entrepreneurship.

Cherice Vanderhall, Village Attorney of Hempstead Village:  Vanderhall specializes in employment litigation and family law. She previously served as Hempstead Village deputy attorney.

“The Covid-19 outbreak has affected us all,” Law said. “As part of the Economic Recovery Advisory Committee, I am committed to doing my part to get the Hempstead community back on its feet in the wake of this pandemic. The multiple perspectives and backgrounds this committee has to offer will ensure the maximum potential for this funding is realized for Hempstead residents.”