HEMPSTEAD - Long Island's food pantries just cranked out some of their busiest months as they worked to keep pace with generous holiday donations.
Now, however, donations are drying up and many pantry shelves are bare, even though an estimated one in 10 families on Long Island still needs help putting food on the table.
"You know, if people are hungry now in November and December, you can be sure that they need help in July and April and March and other times of the year as well, so we need help all year round," says Randi Shubin Dresner, president of Island Harvest.
The Island Harvest food bank helps feed 300,000 Long Islanders every year, providing items like canned goods, produce, coffee and more. Its Uniondale warehouse was filled before the holidays, but is now early empty.
The first few weeks of January are often so tough for local food banks that some of them temporarily shut down.
"Instead of just giving out a few little boxes of food here and there, we want to wait until the end of the month where we can bulk it up a little bit and make sure we can distribute enough," explains Shubin Dresner.
During the slow weeks, the organization helps families to conserve the extra food that was received during the holidays.
"We depend on the community for help, we really do," says Shubin Dresner.