When The Harry Chapin Food Bank first opened its doors on Long Island in February 1982, it served a mere handful of agencies in Nassau and Suffolk Counties, New York. Today, we distribute more than eight million pounds of food and supplies annually via over 590 food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, group homes, day treatment facilities, senior nutrition sites and day care centers in Nassau and Suffolk Counties. These agencies, in turn, distribute the food and supplies to their clients and/or provide meals from the food received.
Long Island Cares obtains this food primarily through these four ways:
- Government contracts. We are the only contracted organization in our area for the distribution of food from the NYS Department of Health HPNAP (Hunger Prevention and Nutrition Assistance Program) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture TEFAP (The Emergency Food Assistance Program).
- Feeding America. Long Island Cares is a certified member of Feeding America, a national network of food banks and food rescue organizations. Through this membership, we have access to donated food from regional and national food donors and share information and ideas with food banks and food rescue organizations throughout the United States.
- Donations. Locally sponsored food drives provide a major source of donated food throughout the year. We accept donations from local community food drives of all sizes. Additionally several regional food manufacturers, distributors, supermarkets and specialty stores donate food and other products to Long Island Cares via a Store Pickup Program or through general deliveries to the Food Bank. Food donors are protected from liability by the Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act.
- Buying leverage gained through our administration of government contracts. We use this leverage to purchase other food at favorable prices.
Long Island Cares creates weekly menus based on its current inventory of HPNAP, TEFAP and donated food that are available to agencies online and by fax. We deliver to each agency twice a month; those requiring additional food may request a pickup at the Long Island Cares’ warehouse.
Looking for the member agency nearest you? Use our Food Locator. Want to become part of the Long Island Cares network of member agencies? Join now.