Annual Food Day drive a success at Schreiber

Annual Food Day drive a success at Schreiber

Sam Capuano, Assistant News Editor

Food Day is an annual event at Schreiber, in which students are encouraged to donate canned goods, cleaning materials, and other types of food.  The donated food is then sent to shelters across Nassau County to be distributed to people in need.  

Food Day takes place during the last week of October, culminating with the last day of donations on Friday.  The collection was organized and run by the Schreiber Student Council.  Upon donating an item, students would receive a raffle ticket, which gave them a chance to win an Amazon gift card, encouraging more students to donate food.  Raffle winners were announced the following Monday. 

“I think it’s really important to donate food, because it can really help people in need,” said sophomore Jackson Garcia. 

Students were encouraged to bring in goods such as low-fat, boxed, and non-refrigerated milk, toilet paper, tissues, cereals, oatmeals, and canned meals. The donated goods were sent to Long Island Cares which is Long Island’s first food bank. 

Established in 1980, Long Island Cares has worked as a non-profit organization distributing food to food-insecure families on Long Island for over forty years.  They have distributed more than 1.5 million meals across Long Island and assisted over 450 thousand people during the pandemic alone.  

They are currently offering the Adopt-a-Family initiative, where people can donate money to feed a family for Thanksgiving.  They provide a shopping list and instructions on their website for people that are interested in helping out.  Long Island Cares is even offering a credit of one hour of community service for high school students that “adopt” a family. 

It’s very humbling to ask for food, particularly people that are not normally on the recipient side.  Many of the people that are getting food now are people that were contributors or food donors in the past.  We recognize how humbling it is to stand on a line and wait for food.  We don’t ask questions.  We trust that if you are there it’s because you need it,” said Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO of Island Harvest Food Bank. 

Long Island Cares saw a 70% increase in residents requiring food assistance during the pandemic.  Recently, though, they have seen a decrease by 18% overall, but there are still more than 280,000 people that visit Long Island Care food banks.  This problem is compounded by the fact that 34% of food insecure people residing in Nassau County are ineligible for nutrition assistance programs supported by both state and federal government.  

Long Island Cares received emergency funding from New York State to assist in the exponential increase in people requiring food assistance in May of 2020.  They received the funding through former Governor Cuomo’s Nourish NY initiative, which provided 25 million dollars to food banks across the state.  Long Island Cares distributes food and supplies to more than 580 food pantries, senior centers, shelters, and more.  

St. Peter of Alcantra acts as a food pantry for Long Island Cares from 10 a.m.- 12 p.m. and 1:30 p.m.-4 p.m. Monday through Thursday.  Port Washington residents that work during those hours can also go to St. Boniface the Martyr on Saturdays from 10 a.m.-12 p.m.  

This year it is also important to be aware of how and when food can be distributed or brought to drop off locations. According to The New York Times, staff shortages have been widespread, and  distribution centers in particular are understaffed due to the increase in people requiring food assistance.  Additionally, Long Island Care food banks’ volunteers are in the 60 and 70 year old age bracket, and because they are at higher risk, which has pushed many volunteers away. 

“I think it’s important to volunteer because there are people that can’t sustain themselves.  If you were in need you would want people to help you, right?” said freshman Marshall Huron. 

Right now, the influx of requests cannot be met. According to NYU’s School of Global and Public health, due to the lack of supplies, distribution stations, and volunteers many people are unable to receive the kind of donations they have gotten in the past. 

Schreiber’s annual Food Day provided for many food-insecure families during a time in which many families are not getting the help they need.