LI food bank appeals to shuttered restaurants to donate much-needed supplies

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A local food bank is reaching out to restaurants and caterers that are finding themselves with a surplus of food because of the state-ordered shutdown.

Island Harvest Food Bank is feeling a pinch because of the coronavirus outbreak. Donations have dried up at a time when the Hauppauge-based food bank is trying to meet the needs of children shut out of their school food program, as well as seniors and veterans.

"Supermarkets, who are a very big supplier of Island Harvest of our food donations, their shelves are empty," says Randi Shubin Dresner. "Although they are refilling, their customers need it. So they don't have much to donate. And a lot of our other suppliers are shutting down."

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Inside the Island Harvest warehouse, it may look like they have a lot of food, but Dresner says it will only last them a few days.

For help, Island Harvest is appealing to restaurants now ordered by the state to serve as takeout only to donate their surplus food.

"You could pack up the product that you thought you were going to be selling before the shutdown and you can donate it to Island Harvest," says Dresner.

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Hundreds of thousands of Long Island residents depend on food banks to feed their families, and the number is expected to only increase due to coronavirus layoffs.

"Currently there are 250,000 Long Islanders who depend on the Emergency Food Network," says Paule Pachter, of Long Island Cares. "It is indeed conceivable that 50,000 people will be added to that number with the layoffs."

Anyone who would like to help can call Island Harvest at 631-873-4775.


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