The Manhasset community is responding to the needy with special vigor this year.
On Friday, November 1, the Interfaith Nutrition Network held a special fundraising luncheon event at the Garden City Hotel to mark the start of its seasonal drive to gather food and funds to help Long Island’s needy, and this year’s drive is supported by a full complement of Manhasset community organizations.
From Nov. 1-15, local Rotary clubs, Chambers of Commerce, fire departments, public schools, the local real estate board and the villages of Flower Hill, Munsey Park, Plandome Heights, Plandome Manor, Plandome, are jointly holding a food drive, with the Town of North Hempstead, which will benefit Nassau County’s needy through INN.
The network, which originally opened its doors in 1983, is supported by a great many residents, businesses, and organizations because yes, there are homeless here on Long Island.
Maybe you have seen them on your way to the library, to work, or food shopping: the parked car filled with clothes and precious belongings which they transport wherever they go. I know I have, and thought, ‘that’s odd, to have everything in your car,’ but quickly forgot the image running to do the next errand.
Donation boxes will be set up in schools, village halls, and King Kullen stores. A local drop-off will be American Legion Post 304 at 27 Bayview Ave., next to the Manhasset – Lakeville Fire Dept. Company 1.
Most INN program participants work. They may have no roof over their head because they lost their homes to foreclosure, fire or flood. The individuals have integrity and deserve dignity, and need a bit of help to get themselves back on their feet. The people are not criminals, but hardworking men and women, some of whom lost their jobs and are seeking work but do not have the funds to go on an interview. The INN steps in to provide food, transportation funds, and shelter to help people who experienced adversity and are looking to rebuild their lives.
The “Great Recession” has taken its toll on Long Island, many of us know the financial impact it has played on friends, neighbors and perhaps even ourselves. These forces were com pounded for some Long Islanders by Superstorm Sandy. While some had the resources to withstand these blows; others were blindsided and forced out of houses with no recourse.
“[Sandy] was an emotional hurricane,” said to Carol Silva of News 12, the keynote speaker at the luncheon. She told of her first experience covering the homeless. Her boss didn’t believe there were any homeless on Long Island but soon found he was wrong. Silva spoke about her father’s upbringing: forced to move in with relatives in another state when his father died, he lived underneath the stairs outside with a blanket and a light. Silva spoke beautifully about how her dad raised himself out of his circumstances by joining the armed forces — changing his life forever.
A Constant Need
For the holiday season food drive, the INN is looking for non-perishable foods such as stuffing, canned yams, cranberry sauce, canned fruit, canned vegetables (corn, peas, string beans), canned gravy, boxed macaroni & cheese, or boxed/packaged mashed potatoes. No glass. Cash donations can always be put to good use.
Unlike wreaths and tinsel, the hungry and homeless don’t go away after the holidays. There is an ever-present need. For more on how you can help, go to www.the-inn.org or call 516-486-8506 ext. 108.