Hungry For Change Summer 2021

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Summer 2021


“When in doubt, do something” — Harry Chapin

years ago…

for Long Island Cares, Inc.

The Harry Chapin Regional Food Bank

Long Island lost one of its greatest advocates in Harry Chapin. Join us in celebrating his incredible legacy by attending 40th anniversary events all month long. Check out the “Just Wild About Harry Concert” or see the Chapin children perform later this month in New York City just to name a few. Please visit our website for more information about all the festivities and see how you can give back and make Harry’s dream of a hunger free Long Island a reality.

Feed the


Because in good times and in bad times, Long Island Cares.

A BIG THANK YOU!! to all who participated in our incredibly successful virtual event on June 2nd. We couldn’t have done it without You! Through your generous gifts we were able to raise over $130,000 for Long Islanders in need!

Welcome… …to our newly redesigned newsletter, Hungry for Change! Dig into this issue for news from the food bank, reflections on a tough year, stories of hope and the impact of your generosity.

Message from our CEO

You are the Wind in our Sails I want to begin my column for our newly redesigned newsletter, Hungry for Change, by recognizing the outstanding effort our Development and Communications staff invested in this publication. We are fortunate to have a creative and innovative team assembled to help us raise critical funding and help relate Long Island Cares, Inc. – The Harry Chapin Regional Food Bank’s challenges and accomplishments to you – our donors and supporters. In creating Hungry for Change, we have an incredible opportunity to focus on our direct-service programs, showcase some of our dedicated staff and volunteers, and present you with real stories that portray our work and the many people who benefit. By now, you already know of the challenges that faced Long Island Cares in the past twelve months. How was the food bank able to respond to the more than 63% increase in need, deliver 19 million pounds of food to our network, and have 287,481 people visit our satellites and emergency pop-up distribution centers for the very first time? It's because of you, our many caring donors. Your support and generosity are unprecedented. You sustained emergency response efforts and now allow us to expand our services. With your help, our newest locations have opened, the Harry Chapin Food Bank Essential Market in Bethpage, and the Center for Community Engagement in Hauppauge. Our dedicated and talented staff now numbers 64 people, up from 53 just one year ago. On any given day, a total of 169 volunteers join us in our efforts to feed your neighbors in need. Your many notes, emails, phone calls, and encouragement not only helped sustain our work for the last twelve months but


also set the stage for needed program expansion since Long Island will feel the effects of Covid-19 for many months ahead. Despite our 40-year record of accomplishments and being referred to as a “historic organization,” Long Island Cares cannot succeed without the support of dedicated donors. You continue to support the work at our satellite locations, our Children's Nutrition Services, Baxter’s Pet Pantry, and Mobile Outreach Resource Enterprise (MORE) vehicles for Veterans, seniors, and the homeless.

You are our heroes. You deserve to be honored not only for the money you contribute but for your passion for helping. We appreciate the concerns expressed for the health and well-being of our staff and volunteers who worked non-stop from March 13, 2020, through today. Your support gives us the energy to work nights and weekends and travel many miles to ensure our agencies and communities from Floral Park to Montauk have the food and resources they need. As we begin to wind down from crisis mode to an organized response to the long-term needs for food assistance, we know that you will be watching and eager to be a part of our ongoing work, for which we remain grateful. Your support helps us meet both the rising need for food assistance today and advocate for the systemic change we need to end hunger for good. We are stronger when we address hunger as a community. Together, we are hungry for change.

Paule T. Pachter, ACSW, LMSW Chief Executive Officer, Long Island Cares, Inc.

Stay connected!


Staying on Track Through Covid A lot of folks may think of the finance department at their company as just the “bean counters”but our Long Island Cares bean-counters really put their money where their mouth is during the pandemic! COVID changed the way we work, from social-distanced work-spaces to utilizing PPE and increased cleaning measures every day. As food insecurity increased across the country, food banks had to work harder and smarter to meet the increased demand and keep our neighbors fed.

Our workforce increased from 53 employees to more than 80 employees at the height of the pandemic. Our finance department was also tasked with purchasing more food to be distributed through our warehouse and agencies – they processed almost double the amount of orders they did a year ago – approximately 560 in 2020. Working with development, they made sure your donations were put to the best use through the pandemic, while maintaining transparent communications with our donors and stakeholders.

Welcome Robert LaBarbara Chief Procurement & Supply Chain Officer We would like to extend a formal welcome to Bob LaBarbara our new Chief Procurement & Supply Chain Officer at Long Island Cares. Bob comes to us following a 35 year tenure with Barron’s Educational Series, Inc. where he held several management positions including, Credit Manager, General Manager, and Director of Operations & Distribution. Bob is extremely excited to work with Long Island Cares noting “It’s such a meaningful organization that directly contributes to neighbors and communities and I want to elevate it to the next level.” His wealth of experience is sure to build upon the Long Island Cares mission. “I want to bring the best of what I know forward here at Long Island Cares” he said.


Volunteers Get it Done! A huge part of helping Long Island Cares stay on track during COVID and meet the increased demand was our volunteers! In 2020, thanks to your generous donations, our warehouse operations processed over 17,764,462 pounds of food… and they couldn’t have done it without our volunteers. We had 2,375 new volunteers through 2020, and they made it possible to support our member agencies and neighbors in need.

Thank you to all our volunteers!


Tell us your giving story! Have a great volunteering story? We want to hear it! Have a Harry Chapin story? We want to hear it! Did a family member or a neighbor inspire you to give? We want to hear about it! No matter your story, we’re glad you’re here with us, and we want to know more. Thank you for being a part of the fight against hunger – tell us how you got here!

I retired and wanted to volunteer,” she said. “It’s very rewarding.” Jewel started volunteering at one of the most devastating times of the COVID-19 crisis. Volunteering has been a fulfilling way for her to give back to her community during the unprecedented emergency of the pandemic. Want to volunteer with Long Island Cares? We’ve got lots of opportunities, and would love your help!


Summer 2021



Celebrating 10+ Years of Baxter’s Pet Pantry Long Island Cares is all about feeding families…and pets are part of our families too! For people struggling with food insecurity, feeding and housing their pets becomes another challenge, and many families would be faced with the tough choice of having to give up their pet to be able to feed themselves. In 2009, our CEO Paul Pachter saw this need and established Baxter’s Pet Pantry, to keep pets and people fed, and keep families together. To celebrate over a decade of Baxter’s, we had a photo shoot with our staff and their pets!


If you saw Trixie and Marie at the dog park, you wouldn’t realize they were in crisis. Marie, a senior living in Hauppauge, often walks Trixie, her 13 year old adopted Australian Cattle Dog, in the park and playground across from their home.

Marie and Trixie Trixie and Marie have been together for over seven years – ever since Marie walked in to Smithtown Animal Shelter and saw Trixie. “I wasn’t looking for a dog but then I saw Trixie and she reminded me so much of my dog I had just lost. And then what can you do? She needed my help.” Marie adopted her on the spot.

The story doesn’t end here however, “You know, here’s the problem. I’m a senior, I have limited income,” said Marie. “I only have barely enough to care for myself. But I volunteer and I see Trixie and I know she needs me. So I try and make it work.” Time passes without much incident but as Trixie gets older, she starts developing mysterious symptoms. She can’t eat, she loses weight – she won’t move. “I didn’t know what to do. I took her to the doctor, and after paying for so many tests, it turns out she had Cushing’s, which I didn’t know a dog could have. But again, I know she needs my help.” Marie generously took money she had saved for her own needs and put it towards Trixie’s care. When the vet prescribed expensive prescription dog food on top of all the tests and vet visits, Marie didn’t know what to do. “I called the Suffolk County Legislature, and told them all that was going on, that I needed help,” said Marie. “And they suggested Long Island Cares to me. I didn’t know they helped with pets! But then I remembered reading an article about their pet pantry in the paper and it turns out Trixie has the same disease as the dog, Baxter.” Baxter, CEO Paule Pachter’s pug, and pantry namesake, also suffered from Cushing’s disease. Marie knew it was a sign. Long Island Cares quickly came to Marie’s aid. “God bless them. No one donates that sort of food, so they had to buy it specially for us.” said Marie. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, Long Island Cares has been able to provide Trixie’s prescription dog food for over a year – so she can live a more comfortable life and stay with Marie. “I’m an animal lover, I can’t help it,” said Marie. “A dog is so much work a lot of the time, especially as you get older, the dog gets older, it’s really hard… but I couldn’t send Trixie back to the shelter. Long Island Cares made it so I can keep her here with me. Thank you so much!” @long_island_cares

Government |Vets “As a veteran, it can be hard to ask for a hand, because we always want to give a hand, even when we need it ourselves. It’s just what we do.” Engelbert Morales jokes that he can’t tell, but he thinks he might be happy. “I worked so hard through school, to get a job, to get to a certain place in life… I think I might actually be there!” says Engelbert. “I really like my job, I feel successful, I like where I am in life – it’s strange to feel so happy, not always looking for the next challenge, the next struggle.” That wasn’t always the case. When Engelbert, who served almost 5 years in the United States Marines, returned from active-duty overseas, he was struggling. “I served during Operation Enduring Freedom,” says Engelbert. “When I came back home, it was very hard to make that adjustment from active service to civilian – and I think that’s for all veterans. And in my case, I also was enrolled in school. So I was a full-time student, but also a veteran trying to adjust to student life, civilian life, trying to find a steady job that fit all that – it was hard.” Engelbert was walking through his neighborhood when he saw the Long Island Cares Freeport location and decided to take a chance and ask for help. “I was at a time in my life, I had the need. It was uncomfortable to ask for help, because as a veteran you always want to be helping,” says Engelbert. “But everyone at Long Island Cares has treated with me with respect – they’re very attentive and professional. When I told them I was a veteran, they told me they had a special day at the pantry every week that was for veterans only. So that made me more comfortable, because I felt I wasn’t alone. The pantry is always willing to accommodate your needs, and there’s more resources there than I would have ever imagined. It wasn’t just food – they had lots of services specific for veterans.” Through Long Island Cares, Engelbert could reach out to other veterans at Military Appreciation Tuesdays, as well as access job counseling, networking and skills training through VetWorks. “Fern, the Veteran LifeSkills Specialist at VetWorks, she helped me with resume writing, with interview practice, with everything,” says Engelbert. “I’m in my job that I love now because of all the help and recommendations I received from Long Island Cares. And it’s really humbling. Because now that I’ve received the help and am where I want to be, I can help others again.” Engelbert continues to give back by donating food, helping increase the networking opportunities for veterans, and introducing veterans he meets that are struggling to Long Island Cares – so they can access the resources and support they need in a welcoming environment. “These services Long Island Cares provide are so important, and there’s a constant need for veterans re-entering civilian life,” says Engelbert. “I would tell other veterans, it’s okay to ask for help. Because once you get yourself back on your feet, then you can give back, and help other people. You’re still a veteran at the end of the day – that never leaves you. You can overcome and you can still have that pride of service you always had.”

Staff Highlight


Long Island Cares, Inc

Brendan Piper Veteran Outreach and Care Coordinator Readers, meet Brendan! Brendan is the newest member of Long Island Cares Government Affairs and Veterans Project department. Brendan is a veteran, having served in the United States Marine Corps for 8½ years, and is now pursuing his degree in social work. At Long Island Cares, he uses his experience and education to support veterans through outreach and coordinating care. Brendan helps veterans understand and access the benefits and services available to them, and focuses on making sure veterans have secure housing. This can mean anything from preserving housing for veterans facing eviction, or helping veterans in transitional housing find more stable living arrangements. Brendan, thanks for all your hard work – you are making a huge difference!

In 2020 alone, Brendan made 100 home visits to veterans in need, to assess any home modifications they may need as well as deliver home care packages to homebound veterans. Summer 2021



Agency Highlight

Gus’s Grocery Corner! Gus’s Grocery Corner, located at several Long Island Cares satellite locations, proudly offers various perishable food items to Long Island Cares member agencies through Gus’s Retail Rescue program. The Retail Rescue program allows Long Island Cares member agencies to “shop” for fresh and edible food rescued from grocery stores, restaurants, and manufacturers that would otherwise go to waste. Through the Retail Rescue program, agencies gain the powerful ability to add fresh produce and other perishable foods to expand their client’s menus with even more fresh and nutritious foods. In 2020, 556,948 lbs. of fresh produce; bakery items; milk, and dairy products were distributed through this wonderful program.

Gus’s 2020 Stats Hauppauge (open 5 mornings a week)

444,500 lbs of food Lindenhurst distributed

(open 3 mornings a week)


112,448 lbs of food

Coming Soon… Gus’s in Bethpage! 6

Tanya is the director of Loaves and Fishes, a Long Island Cares Member Agency and the food pantry at Bread of Life World Outreach Center in Wyandanch – and her nickname is The Pantry Queen. “Everybody calls me The Pantry Queen,” says Tanya. “Because I’m always talking about the food pantry, the specifics, like, ‘Oh, this shelf needs to be this high, this is how the food should be handled, this is how much food a family of four needs to be healthy…’ and I only know these things because Long Island Cares trained me. They make it possible for me to serve the families that need us here – and there are a lot. There are more every day.” Tanya knows because her family was once one of those families. At the height of her career as a high-powered executive, a serious car accident took her out of action – and left her family wondering where their next meal would come from. “I like to joke I was the ‘big boss’ – a baller and a shot-caller,” says Tanya. “One day changed my life – I became a spectator. I was in the hospital for a long time. But when I got out, I had to do the physical therapy. I have metal plates everywhere, in my leg, in my head. They thought I would never walk again. I couldn’t cook. I couldn’t work. I couldn’t care for my family. The reason I’m here today? Because Long Island Cares supported this food pantry, and this food pantry supported my family. Life changes so quickly, it can happen to anyone. It woke me up.” Through hard work, Tanya relearned to walk – then run by dedicating herself to the Loaves and Fishes Pantry. Her passion – and her compassion – made tangible. Tanya had been in the same position as her clients – she knew what the people visiting her pantry were going through. “At Loaves and Fishes, there are no ‘beggars’,” says Tanya. “Everyone who comes to this pantry, I tell them they are V.I.P.s – because they are very important to us, they are important to their families. If you need help, we’ll help you. If you’re hungry, we’ll feed you. There is no shame here. We’re a client-choice pantry, and I say, ‘Think of us as your personal shoppers – we will find what you need and pack it right up for you.’ And they love it – people go through hard times, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be respected and cared for.” When Tanya first started, the pantry was serving only a handful of families. During the pandemic, Tanya worked with Long Island Cares to expand the pantry and get food and supplies to her community. Now they are able to support hundreds of families with lines to receive food circling around the center’s parking lot. “These people come to us, because they know we care. They know Long Island Cares, cares. The food we provide is good, it’s healthy, it’s tailored to their needs. Because of the donations we receive, we have pet food, we have personal products – when some of the clients see the quality of what we are giving them, they cry. They are so happy. And that’s why I do what I do.”


Loaves and Fishes


Raynor Country Day School AsparaGus visited the students at Raynor Country Day School to thank them for their amazing donation and teach them about how the food they raised with their food drive will help families in need. Thank you!!!

The Kids are all right It’s never too early to start making a difference…and these young Long Islanders are getting a head start! Thank you, thank you, thank you for all you do – your passion and determination to help your community are inspiring to us, and we can’t wait to see how you grow and impact our world in amazing new ways!

Kids Helping Kids Since the COVID-19 Pandemic arrived last March, the number of food-insecure people living on Long Island, including over 79,000 children, has risen even higher. To help combat this increase in child hunger, LI kids have taken it upon themselves to help fellow children through the power of YouTube videos in a series simply titled Kids Helping Kids. Kids Helping Kids is a collection of creative videos produced by kids for kids in order to educate their peers on food insecurity and nutrition. The scriptwriting, production, and starring roles are all managed by kids aged eleven to fourteen. Local Long Islanders Nathan and Shay produced several videos in the series including a short educational piece about the effect that even a single dollar donation can make in helping foodinsecure children. The brother-sister duo also created kid-friendly cooking videos featuring delicious, simple, and nutritious foods that even include ways to make the treats gluten-free or allergy-friendly. Kate of Huntington produced some very helpful at-home


Eagle Scout Project Thank you to Thomas Albero for choosing Long Island Cares to be the beneficiaries of your Eagle Scout project! Thomas went above and beyond – not only building a bookcase from scratch for our Humanitarian Center in Huntington Station, but also raising enough money to fill it with new English, Spanish and bi-lingual children’s books, 12 more boxes of books, and an extra $1,100 to buy new books when the bookcase runs out! These books are making a huge difference for the families who visit our Humanitarian Center — thank you!!! arts and crafts videos teaching kids how to utilize their creative side outside of the classroom. She also created a video dedicated to baking a quick and tasty chocolate chip mug cake that kids can make using only a microwave. The Kids Helping Kids series in its entirety can be found on the Long Island Cares YouTube channel.

Summer 2021


Non-Profit Org US Postage

PAID Permit No 28 Brentwood, NY 11717

10 Davids Drive, Hauppauge, NY 11788-2039 | 631.582.FOOD (3663)

To know is to care. To care is to act. To act is to make a difference.

Stay connected!

— Harry Chapin Founder, Long Island Cares, Inc.

Exciting News from Long Island Cares! Originally opened as a pop-up food pantry in the Summer of 2020 to assist with the increased demand for food during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bethpage Essential Market is set to open its doors fully in July 2021. Dr. Jessica Rosati, Chief Programs Officer for Long Island Cares, says the new pantry will offer a “Client choice experience” where guests are guided through the aisles by staff. Visitors will be able to add items to their cart right off the shelf in a fashion similar to a grocery store shopping trip. Rosati’s vision for the future is to create a unique yet familiar experience for foodinsecure clientele and return some peace of mind to those affected by hunger on Long Island.

Bethpage Essential Market Opening July 2021 386 N Wantagh Ave, Bethpage (516) 753-9880

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