“Hunger is the shame of America,” noted our founder, the late and GREAT Harry Chapin. Long before Harry and his good friend Bill Ayers opened the doors at Long Island Cares, Inc.-The Harry Chapin Regional Food Bank, countless hours were spent advocating for hunger and poverty relief behind the scenes.
Forty-three years later, we continue to advocate and, unfortunately, must continue to provide
emergency food and supplies to the 221,000 Long Islanders impacted by food insecurity (65,000 of
which are children). At a time when the cost of food and goods has risen and pandemic relief has ended, Long Islanders’ need for support continues.
Long Island Cares’ Humanitarian Center of Huntington Station has seen an increase in people needing consistent access to nutritious foods. The first two quarters of 2023 show a 34% increase when compared to 2022, during which Long Island Cares provided 71,574 meals to 7,948 residents of Huntington and nearby communities. Sadly, this increase is not unique, as many Long Island Cares programs and community partners are all seeing increases in need.
The cycle of poverty plagues Long Islanders. The need to address stigma, overdue untouched
government programs, and political discourse is now. NO American or Long Islander should be hungry, suffer from food insecurity, and be suppressed by a system that is not designed to lift people out of poverty, but instead, keep the poor, poorer. HUNGER is the shame of America, so let’s do better; “to know is to care, to care is to act, and to act is to make a difference-Harry Chapin.”
Dr. Jessica Rosati is vice president for programs at Long Island Carex-The Harry Chapin Regional Food Bank.