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Friday, December 19, 2014

Island Harvest looks to expand in 2013
Long Island’s largest hunger relief organization holds meeting at Molloy College to discuss post-Sandy efforts
David Weingrad and Aaron Axelson
Christina Daly/Herald
Over the years, Island Harvest has collected and distributed thousands of pounds of food to help feed hungry Long Island residents.

Representatives of Island Harvest, Long Island’s largest hunger relief organization, held a meeting at Molly College in Rockville Centre on Jan. 9 to discuss the state of its organization following Hurricane Sandy.

Inside of Molloy College’s Madison Theater on Jan. 9, Island Harvest CEO Randi Shubin-Dresner addressed a crowd of more than 100 people, who represent the organization’s 570-agency network of food distribution services, to discuss how October’s “superstorm” has changed the way they will provide food and supplies to Long Island’s less fortunate. “There’s no question that there are a lot more people now that need our services, than before the hurricane,” she said.

Hurricane Sandy affected tens of thousands of families across Long Island. “From that moment, things changed across Long Island, and particularly for Island Harvest,” said Shubin-Dresner, who has led Island Harvest since 2001. “We became, and have become, a new organization as a result of this disaster.”

The Mineola-based nonprofit organization serves as a bridge between those who have surplus food and those who need it. The organization collects millions of pounds of food from restaurants, caterers, farms and other food-related businesses and delivers them to its network, comprising Long Island-based food pantries, soup kitchens and other food distribution services that offer feeding services for those in need.

Shortly after the hurricane, Island Harvest members visited the hardest-hit areas of Long Island to aid first-responders. Shubin-Dresner, joined on stage by Nicole Christensen, Island Harvest’s vice president of programs and agency relations, said that from November to December, the organization delivered 3.4 million pounds of product to its food network, a 65 percent increase from the previous year, when they delivered 1.4 million pounds over the same timeframe. “This impact was tremendous for us,” said Shubin-Dresner.

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