New York State Assemblyman Fred W. Thiele Jr. is hosting a food drive for the month of August, teaming up with Island Harvest, a hunger-relief organization, to collect food for those in need. Items collected on the South Fork will go to the Bridgehampton and Southampton food pantries.
"There are so many families struggling to make ends meet, not just during the holidays but all year long,” Mr. Thiele said. “I am proud to host this drive for our community and also raise awareness of the prevalence of food insecurity on Long Island."
Island Harvest reports that 54 percent of the households it serves on Long Island fall at or below the poverty level, and 88 percent say they do not have a steady supply of food in a given month. On top of this, 74 percent of the agency's client households report having had to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities at least once in the 12 months prior to the survey.
Donations most needed are nonperishable staples, such as canned beans, dried beans, peanut butter or other nut butters, rolled oats, canned fruit in juice, canned vegetables, canned soups and stews, canned tuna and chicken, brown or white rice, quinoa, nuts and seeds, shelf-stable milk and milk substitutes, pastas and pasta sauce, cereals, olive or canola oil, canned tomatoes, and dried fruits. Island Harvest suggests that healthy options be prioritized: low-sodium canned goods, for example, or whole-grain pastas.
In addition, non-edible household necessities are needed — partly because a family's funds from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) cannot be used for non-food purchases. These include soap, shampoo, and detergent and other cleaning products.
Donations are being accepted through Aug. 30 at Mr. Thiele’s new district office in Noyac, at 3350 Noyac Road, Building B, Suite 1, Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. All items will be taken to an Island Harvest donation center, where volunteers, who know what is needed where, will organize, pack, and earmark them for South Fork food pantries.
More information is available from Mr. Thiele’s office at 631-537-2583, or [email protected].