Thoughts Worth Sharing

Sad But True: This Holiday Your Leftovers May Be Someone's Main Meal

Are you having a holiday party? What are you going to do with the leftovers? The LICC would be glad to receive nonperishable food, and Island Harvest or the Interfaith Nutrition Network may be able to point you toward a nearby soup kitchen that can take prepared food that has not been served. Planning in advance can get your leftovers to someone who really needs them. Last Christmas Eve one well-intentioned person left a message on my home phone on Christmas Eve asking where to take a large quantity of party food—a message I did not receive in time to help them find someone who needed it.


And Then There's The Superbowl

And it is not too early to start planning for Superbowl party leftovers. In addition to observing Souper Bowl Sunday—where youth collect canned goods and donations for a local emergency food pantry during worship on Sunday-- the Congregational Church of Huntington collected food last year the day after the game for a homeless shelter. It is important to work with a soup kitchen or shelter whose staff has been trained in food rescue—our staff is trained regularly by Island Harvest and Long Island Cares, our region’s major food bank and food rescue organizations. Island Harvest can point you toward a nearby shelter or soup kitchen that would be glad to receive donations if you call 516-294-8528.


How LICC Makes The Most Of Your Food Donations

The LICC gladly accepts all sorts of non-perishable food, and we can often take perishable donations, too, but it is best to call first to see if we have room in or refrigerators and freezers. Donations can be dropped off at our Freeport Emergency Food Center (230 Hanse Avenue, 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 this Web site, which allows us to get as much as possible from your donation and to get the items that our neighbors need the most.



Each year we feed more and more hard-working Long Islanders at the LICC who just cannot make ends meet. Every month they face a “Sophie’s Choice”: pay the rent or fill a prescription, keep the lights on or put food on the table. 

At the LICC we often feed more than 1,500 of our neighbors each month. Many people assume that those who need emergency food pantries and soup kitchens are unemployed, but this is no longer true on Long Island. 85% of the families we feed each month at our Freeport Emergency Food Center in Freeport have at least one adult member who is employed. It is not that they are not working—though they might like to work more hours or earn more money doing so—it is that their paycheck does not cover life’s necessities.  The same is true in many emergency shelters where most of the people who stay there get up in the morning and go to work—or go to grade school.
 
The LICC gladly accepts all sorts of non-perishable food. These can be dropped off at our Freeport Emergency Food Center (230 Hanse Avenue, 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 this Web site, which allows us to get as much as possible from your donation and to get the items that our neighbors need the most.
 
Thanks for your support!
 

 HUNGER AND THE LACK OF AFFORDABLE HOUSING

The number one reason why hungry Long Islanders come to us for help is the lack of affordable housing.  Here are a few local stats compiled by the Long Island Community Foundation. 

•    To stay within the traditional formula of paying no more than 30% of household income for housing costs (includes rent or mortgage and taxes + utilities), a Long Island household would have to have an income of $67,682 a year to be able to afford housing in our region.  

•    Primary concerns for local residents are the high cost of taxes and affordability of the region.

•    Long Island property taxes increased by 64% from 2002-2009.

•    Foreclosure filings for Nassau and Suffolk Counties increased by 44% from February to March of 2012.

•    Only three out of 100 homes are affordable for young adults.

•    According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, when compared to the national average, Long Island’s electricity rates are 45.3% higher, utility piped gas is 12.8% higher, and gasoline is 4% higher.

Fifty-five percent of our guests are the working poor.  Despite working as many hours as is humanly possible, they cannot earn enough to pay their housing costs and also put food on the table, or feed their families and also pay their utilities.  Even if their household income is slightly above the current poverty level of $23,050 for a family of four, it is still only a small fraction of the Area Median Income (AMI) for Long Island.   According to the most recent U.S. Census figures for median income (2006-2010), Nassau County’s median household income is $93,613 and Suffolk County’s is $84,506. Ninety-nine percent of our clients have a per-household income of $24,000 or less (25.6% of AMI or less for Nassau, and 28.4% of AMI or less for Suffolk).  

According to the 30% rule, any housing that costs more than $600 per month ($7,200/year) is out of reach for our guests.  Utilizing an alternative yardstick, namely, a house should not cost more than 2.5 times one’s annual household income, the people we serve could not afford to buy a home that costs more than $60,000.  Who could find such a bargain on Long Island?!

What You Can Do. Make a donation to our emergency food bank. 

 

 

 

Statistics can be cold and unemotional. Take, for example, the statistic that every three seconds a child meets an end that should have been preventable. (Hunger and disease are the main culprits.) As horrifying as it may seem, this statistic is almost impossible to comprehend and, if comprehended, may be blotted out of consciousness due to its horrific nature.

But what if this statistic were represented in a video? 

That's the purpose of the video below making the rounds on the Internet. The video shows a boys' choir singing in harmony that is interrupted as one boy after another walks away. Hard. Chilling. Riveting. 

 

Hunger has a face to it. It is real. It steals our youth and saps the life out of all of us. The Long Island Council of Churches (LICC) is one of numerous organizations that address hunger head-on. Support the work of the LICC here or another organization of your choice because we can't let our young ones simply disappear from want of food.

(Don Metznik is a guest blogger and his comments are entirely his own. The video was found on the International Children's Fund Channel on YouTube. The use of the video is intended to dramatize a situation and does not endorse any particular organization. You may reach Don at www.metznik.com)

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 Nassau County. 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  Freeport Emergency Food Center (230 Hanse Avenue, 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.


 
Thanks for your support!