UNIONDALE, Long Island (WABC) -- Several organizations on Long Island and a local pop star are stepping in to help feed families in need for Thanksgiving as expenses soar.
Buying groceries amid rising gas prices and inflation prompted by the pandemic has put a strain on families across Nassau County, already struggling to make ends meet.
"Food banks have helped me a couple of times through my times and help my friends that were homeless," Franklin Square resident Michele Harman said.
Which is why celebrity singer and Jericho native Madison Beer is returning home from Los Angeles to help.
The teen sensation, discovered by then teen heartthrob Justin Bieber, went viral and later landed her a deal with Island Records.
Now at 23, Beer is signing on with Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman to provide a selfless celebration next week.
The goal is to fill all 15,000 seats at the Nassau Coliseum. It's free and open to all ages but you must have one thing.
"Bring a non-perishable food item that doesn't require refrigeration, in a box, in a can, in a jar," Blakeman said.
On Thanksgiving eve, the collected food will go to Long Island food banks like Island Harvest, where the food and support is desperately needed.
"The truth is if you're hungry on Thanksgiving, you're probably hungry in the summertime and in the fall and spring," Island Harvest President and CEO Randi Shubin Dresdner said.
Island Harvest helps about 300,000 people each year.
"This is our community marketplace," Island Harvest Food Bank government relations liaison Gregory May said. "This is where our neighbors can come if they are in need of any food."
The demand is higher at the pantries, which is why the food drive is vital for single working mothers like Michele Harman.
"We lived in apartments and my social security checks just went out the door to rent and I maybe have $50,000 in food stamps to live off of and free Medicaid for me and my son."
Nassau County is offering the free tickets, which you can reserve online.
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