Would you walk one mile? Two miles? More? Of course you would. Here's the story of one desperate mother who walked 5 miles.
Few of us can imagine how desperate people can be to find the stuff we toss. One mother who had lost her job and was now destitute, pushed her seven-month old baby five miles in a stroller to our Freeport Emergency Food Center because she could not afford bus fare. She had run out of infant formula when WIC had reduced her infant formula allowance to six cans of Enfamil a month, enough to feed a seven-month old baby for only about 10 days, and her SNAP (food stamp) benefits covered even less, let alone the cost of feeding an adult for a month. We gave her what we had on hand at the time, but this was only two cans of infant formula, two boxes of baby cereal and a few jars of baby food.
BABY FOOD: THE PROBLEM OF SHORT SHELF-LIVES
Emergency food pantries like ours often find it hard to keep enough food on their shelves to serve the growing number of our neighbors who need assistance. And it is even more difficult to give them the food they really need. The Long Island Council of Churches, for example, our region’s largest ecumenical and interfaith organization, operates emergency food centers in both Nassau and Suffolk counties. For us, it is particularly hard to come by donations of baby food and formula and items that meet the dietary restrictions of our older clients. Baby food and infant formula have very short shelf-lives, and unlike other canned goods, these must be discarded as soon as they reach their pull date.
WHAT OUR NEIGHBORS NEED MOST
So if you have formula or baby food that your children have outgrown, please donate them right away while they can do somebody some good. If you have diapers or pre-natal vitamins you no longer need, give them too. And if you have low-salt, low-fat, or sugar-free food on your shelf that you probably will never eat, please donate it to someone who desperately needs it. It’s a shame to let food go to waste when our neighbors are going hungry.
WHERE TO DONATE
The LICC gladly accepts all sorts of non-perishable food. These can be dropped off at our Riverhead office (407 Osborne Avenue at Lincoln, opposite the Polish Town Civic Association 631-727-2210), our Hempstead office (in Christ’s 1st Presbyterian Church at the village green on Nichol’s Court (516-565-0290), or our Freeport Emergency Food Center (450 North Main Street, 516-868-4989). And if you have a large quantity of food to donate, we would be glad to pick it up.
You can also buy food for our food pantries through the links on our web site, www.liccdonate.org, which allows us to get as much as possible from your donation and to get the items that our neighbors need the most.