Coronavirus News: Long Island food banks, pantries struggling to keep up with demand

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Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Coronavirus News: LI food bank donations dry up during pandemic
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Kristin Thorne details the struggles of Island Harvest Food Bank as donations dry up during the pandemic

HAUPPAUGE, Long Island (WABC) -- Food banks and pantries across Long Island are struggling to keep up with demand as donations of food have stalled and more families are in need of food due to the economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Island Harvest, based in Hauppauge, has spent more than $500,000 purchasing food in order to continue to help families.

"So this is a whole new direction, a whole new model that we're in for this period of time," Island Harvest CEO Randi Shubin Dresner said. "We've purchased food before, but not in this quantity so quickly."

Shubin Dresner said the food deliveries, however, are weeks behind schedule due to the national demand for food.

"A lot of the major distribution arms are getting orders from all across the country, so there's backlog now - sometimes two to three weeks to get bulk product," she said.

Island Harvest has been distributing boxes of food to families, which included enough food for four people for four days.

"All those suppliers are three and four weeks out for deliveries," she said.

In addition to helping those people, Island Harvest has also been helping to feed quarantined seniors and veterans across Long Island.

Shubin Dresner said the food bank will need anywhere from $750,000 to $1 million to continue to feed Long Islanders during this crisis.

Island Harvest has received generous donations from companies like Stop & Shop, PSEG Long Island, National Grid and J. Kings Food Service.

To donate, visit IslandHarvest.org.

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