631-582-FOOD

Author Archives: Paule Pachter

  1. There’s Much to Celebrate About Long Island Cares in 2020, But We Must Also Focus on Our Neighbors in Need

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    PAULE T. PACHTER
    Chief Executive Officer

    There is so much to celebrate about Long Island in 2020, as illustrated by the conversation at the HIA-LI Legislative Breakfast on January 17.  The $2.6 billion grant to Brookhaven National Laboratory to construct an electron ion collider over the next ten years will undoubtedly change the tecno-landscape of our region, and position Long Island as an even more significant location to attract a highly talented workforce in the Sciences.  The installation of new sewer systems and additional luxury apartments in Smithtown and Islip townships will attract new businesses and new residents able to afford the many benefits of living in a vibrant downtown area.  The planned New York Islander’s Arena in Elmont, and the proposal to construct a convention center in Ronkonkoma might pump millions of needed additional income into the economies of both Nassau and Suffolk Counties.  These achievements and bold ideas deserve to be supported by our elected officials at all levels of government.  However, we need to balance our growth in these exciting areas by keeping our focus on the human services landscape in our region that, is plagued with many challenges.

    On January 12, as widely reported in the media, there were 2,500 people that took part in the “March Against Anti-Semitism,” which was led by Nassau County Executive Laura Curran and Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone on the steps of the Nassau County Legislature Building in Mineola.  Dozens of elected officials, civic and religious leaders spoke about the need for unity and tolerance in the wake of ongoing attacks against the Jewish community, and a Task Force on Anti-Semitism was convened.  However, if we continue to discriminate against minority families purchasing homes in certain communities, we will have failed.  If an LGBTQ student continues to be bullied in school, we have failed.  And, if additional swastikas are painted on our synagogues, we will have failed.

    Then there is the issue of the street homeless population on Long Island.  There is simply not enough resources being provided to our region to help our veterans, emotionally disabled, and young people living at Long Island Rail Road stations, in wooded areas, and behind Home Depots that are need of affordable housing, Section 8 HUD vouchers, and safe shelters.  During a three-hour legislative hearing on January 16 at SUNY Farmingdale, state legislators made the case for additional rent subsidies to help property owners and developers build new affordable housing but, building apartments that would rent for $2,400 a month for a one-bedroom unit is just not affordable for many people with limited income or those receiving government entitlements.  We need a better solution and bold thinking if we are to get our homeless of the streets before they die in the elements.  Unfortunately, this wasn’t discussed at the hearing.

    These are just two areas where our region is lagging-behind other countries, cities and municipalities, and how realistic will it be to solve our problems when New York State is facing a $6 billion deficit in 2020?  So, while we celebrate the good fortunes of BNL, Smithtown, Islip, Elmont, Ronkonkoma, and the Nassau Hub, we must keep our focus on the many people on Long Island who struggle with homelessness, discrimination, mental illness, substance abuse and hunger every day, because for them, there isn’t much to celebrate.

  2. The Risks Between Seniors and Food Insecurity Are Too Important to Ignore

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    PAULE T. PACHTER
    Chief Executive Officer

    A recently published research report from our colleagues at the Food Research and Action Center (FRAC), reviews food insecurity rates and risk factors among older adults; the connection between food insecurity and health among older adults; and the effectiveness of some of the federal nutrition programs in alleviating food insecurity and supporting health for this population.  Poverty, food insecurity, and poor nutrition have potentially harmful impacts on the health and well-being of older adults, which can limit their ability to work, perform daily activities, and live independently.  Older adults with limited finances, adequate resources, and a limited social support system often interfere with the ability to maintain good health.

    In 2018, more than 1.3 million adults 65 years of age or older and living alone were considered to be food insecure in America.  Long Island Cares, Inc. estimates that approximately 54,000 seniors living in Nassau and Suffolk Counties experience food insecurity and rely upon the emergency food network for ongoing support.  On a monthly basis, more than 800 seniors visit our satellite locations in Freeport, Lindenhurst and Huntington Station to access food, personal care items, household supplies, and pet food. Twice per month, our Mobile Pantry delivers groceries to 76 households of seniors that are homebound and have difficulty traveling to a local food pantry.

    Being food insecure can lead to mental and physical health conditions such as diabetes, depression, hypertension, congestive heart failure and accidents.  Seniors struggling with food insecurity also experience more frequent hospitalizations and emergency room visits.  Federal programs such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Congregate Nutrition Program, Home-Delivered Nutrition Program, Commodity Supplemental Food Program (CSFP), Senior Farmer’s Market Nutrition Program, and the Child and Adult Care Food Program provide a lifeline to seniors living alone and often isolated.  Although the SNAP program is critical in helping seniors improve their nutrition and well-being, the program continues to be under attack from Washington and some of our congressional representatives that want funding for the program significantly reduced.  In response to numerous proposals to reduce SNAP on a federal level, our state and local governments sometime scramble to find funding available to maintain these programs for our seniors.  After all, seniors comprise a significant voting block in America, and have a very strong and loud voice through organizations like AARP, FRAC and Feeding America.

    This past November, Catholic Charities on Long Island ended its Commodity Supplemental Food Program that delivered more than 53,000 food boxes to 3,000-4,000 seniors on Long Island annually.  In an effort to maintain the provision of home delivered government commodities food to our seniors, the New York State Department of Health has awarded a contract to Long Island Cares, Inc. and the New York Community Pantry to collaborate in providing food to seniors in need.  Long Island Cares will implement our new S.O.S. (Supporting Our Seniors) Mobile Food Services in January throughout Suffolk County.  In establishing this model with support from our state legislative delegation, the Department of Health was able to respond to the needs of our seniors and avoid a potential crisis.  When it comes to hunger and seniors, we need to develop broad and creative approaches that both insure that services are available, in addition to defining achievable outcomes.  It is critical that we provide coordinated services, flexible program models, compassion and advocacy for a population that sometimes feels helpless to effect change.

  3. Long Island Cares to Expand to Five Locations with New Pet Pantry and Food Rescue Center

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    In 2009, Long Island Cares, Inc. opened our very first community-based satellite location in the Village of Freeport.  Our goal was to expand opportunities for individuals experiencing food insecurity to access emergency food and other resources in a “one-stop” location that was easily accessible by public transportation, highly visible within the community, and that would provide additional services and supports that persons struggling with hunger and food insecurity could benefit from.  In the past nine years, we have opened two additional satellites in the Village of Lindenhurst and Huntington Station that serve nearly 6,000 each month.  In addition, they have also provided 440,412 meals for Long Island families in need.

    Each of our satellite locations offer visitors the opportunity to select healthy foods from our client-choice First Stop Food Pantries to feed their families. In addition, we provide visitors with personal care products, household supplies, pet food, new clothing primarily for infants and toddlers, information about other resources and entitlement programs, career development services, and educational workshops hosted in each locations’ conference rooms.  Each of our satellite locations is staffed by at least one, full-time staff person who is joined everyday by local community volunteers that welcome our visitors and assist them in shopping in our pantries.  Currently, several allied organizations visit our three satellite centers on a weekly or monthly schedule to meet with our visitors and provide them with additional services that address the root causes of hunger, and to improve their ability to become more self-sufficient.  Among the partner organizations working alongside our staff and volunteers are: the Health and Welfare Council of Long Island, United Healthcare, Nassau/Suffolk Hospitals Council, NYS Department of Health, Literacy Nassau, Emblem Health, PSEG Long Island, and Northwell Health.

    Each of our satellite centers are also home to some of Long Island Cares’ specialty programs.  Freeport and Lindenhurst house our Student Volunteer Corps, providing opportunities for high school and college students to volunteer with The Harry Chapin Regional Food Bank and in some of our member agency pantries and soup kitchens.  Lindenhurst is also home to our Job and Career Development Program and our Emergency Response and Recovery Services Program, and Huntington Station is home to our Vets Work, Veterans Services Project, and The Chapin Center for Social Policy.  The three satellite centers are an extension of our main facility in Hauppauge where the regional food bank and our warehouse and distribution center is located.

    By the time you read this column, Long Island Cares will have opened our fourth satellite location, also located in Lindenhurst.  The new Long Island Cares Annex will be home to Baxter’s Pet Pantry, a free- standing pet pantry sponsored by VCA Charities in addition to Jazzy’s Place, offering organic pet food for dogs and cats sponsored by the Caplan Bensley Foundation.  The Annex will also house Gus’s Retail Food Rescue Center, providing perishable food received from 80 retailers and made available for pick up by our south shore member agencies.  For Long Islanders facing food insecurity, Long Island Cares now offers five locations, open at least five-days-a-week to serve them better.

    THE LONG ISLAND CARES NETWORK OF LOCATIONS:

    Long Island Cares-The Harry Chapin Regional Food Bank, 10 Davids Dr., Hauppauge – (631) 582-FOOD

    South Shore Service Center, 163-1 N. Wellwood Ave., Lindenhurst – (631) 991-8106

    Harry Chapin Food Bank and Humanitarian Center, 220 Broadway, Huntington Station – (631) 824-6384

    Center for Collaborative Assistance, 21 E. Sunrise Highway, Freeport – (516) 442-5221

    Baxter’s Pet Pantry/Retail Rescue Center, 161 N. Wellwood Ave., Lindenhurst – (631) 991-8106

  4. Will Millennials Be The Future Donors Long Island Nonprofits Can Bank On? Part Three

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    Long Island Cares, Inc. recently contracted with The AIMsights Group to implement its own research project to gauge the interest of millennials specifically on Long Island in supporting the regional food bank, and to find out how the population feels about ending hunger and lifting people out of poverty in Nassau and Suffolk County. The research findings were quite revealing, and one fact became certain in that, millennials on Long Island are not typical of millennials across the country when it comes to philanthropy and donating to local charities.  The research took place online from June 7-13, 2019.  The survey captured the responses of 525 respondents including 309 millennials between the ages of 19-34; 110 members of Gen X between the ages of 39-54; and 106 Baby Boomers between the ages of 55-73.  Respondents had to earn an annual household income of least $30,000, which is just about $3,000 above the national poverty level for a family of four in the United States.

    I was not surprised with the responses we received from millennials when we asked about their relationship with money. Less than half of the millennials surveyed (48.8%) said that they are able to support themselves and have extra money to spend while, (37.1%) report that they budget to pay their bills and have limited extra cash. Finally, (15.2%) said that they have a hard time managing money and budgeting. When asked if they had $1,000 to spend, less than one-percent (0.95%) said that they would donate it to a charity. The vast majority of millennials (86.8%) would apply extra cash to pay bills including, loans or they would try to save some of it.

    When asked what’s important in life, the majority of millennials surveyed (90.1%) said that being financially secure is the most important goal in their life. Being able to balance responsibilities and a social life accounted for (52%) of our responses, and just (27.2%) felt that it was important to help others.  When it comes to charitable causes, (26.3%) identified Hunger and Poverty as an important cause for them.  While (80%) of our respondents between the ages of 19-34 said they would donate to a charity they supported their donations would be split between cash and non-cash donations such as clothing and furniture. Most of our respondents also said that they would donate to a charity and cause based upon the recommendations of family members or friends.  Millennials between the ages of 25-34 said they would donate monthly but the donation would average about $20.  Those respondents between the ages of 35-38 said that they would donate twice per year.

    Millennials are going to be difficult to cultivate as donors by Long Island nonprofits. The population on Long Island is struggling to pay their monthly bills, student loans and rent if they are fortunate enough to live independently.  It’s doubtful that millennials will support annual dinners or golf outings, however they are willing to make small monetary contributions to causes they can relate to, and they certainly will donate if requested to support a coat or food drive.  If the cost of living on Long Island continues to increase, there is the possibility that millennials will continue to leave our region, and we might be skipping a generation of potential donors. Although I’m not ready to give up on millennials as donors, it is going to be a challenge.

     

    October 10, 2019

     

  5. Will Millennials Be The Future Donors Long Island Nonprofits Can Bank On? Part II

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    Long Island Cares, Inc. recently contracted with The AIMsights Group to implement its own research project to gauge the interest of millennials specifically on Long Island in supporting the regional food bank, and to find out how the population feels about ending hunger and lifting people out of poverty in Nassau and Suffolk County. The research findings were quite revealing, and one fact became certain in that, millennials on Long Island are not typical of millennials across the country when it comes to philanthropy and donating to local charities.  The research took place online from June 7-13, 2019.  The survey captured the responses of 525 respondents including 309 millennials between the ages of 19-34; 110 members of Gen X between the ages of 39-54; and 106 Baby Boomers between the ages of 55-73.  Respondents had to earn an annual household income of least $30,000, which is just about $3,000 above the national poverty level for a family of four in the United States.

    I was quite surprised with the responses we received from millennials when we asked them what causes they would support if they had the financial resources to donate to a local charity. Among the 19-34 age group, Mental Health was their number one choice followed by Education and the Environment.  Education was the top-ranked cause among people 35-38, and for respondents in the 39-73 age group, Chronic Illness was their number one concern.  The issue of Hunger and Poverty ranked 4.2 within the top five priorities.  Although food banks are going to have to work harder if we want to engage millennials to support our mission, my colleagues in the Mental Health field should be developing strategic plans that identify millennials as a potential donor base.  Given the social climate we live in and the stresses that millennials experience related to income, affordable housing, gun violence, substance abuse and other concerns, it makes sense to me that Mental Health is their top priority.  Millennials tend to donate to causes they have a connection to and there are more people coping with mental illness then experiencing food insecurity on Long Island.

    When asked how they would donate to a charity, millennials said they would donate cash and non-cash such as donating clothing, furniture or volunteering. They also view posting on social media as a way of supporting charities.  Between 2-20% of millennials would be willing to donate only once or once annually to local charities, while the majority said they would donate monthly or twice per year.  The challenge nonprofit organizations will face is that millennials have a cap of between $20-50 of how much they can afford and are willing to donate.  Realistically, millennials can’t be seen currently as potential major donors.

    When it came to what would inspire millennials to donate to a charity, 75% said that a personal experience is most important, 49% said they would be open to a recommendation from family or friends, while 26% said they’re inspired by online stories about charitable organizations. The majority of Long Island millennials also said that the ability to help people directly, along with proof that their $20-50 donation would make a difference in someone’s life would determine their donation.

    For Long Island nonprofits, the stage is set when it comes to cultivating millennial donors. If your organization focuses on Mental Health, Education, Environment, Hunger or Animal Welfare, you might have some opportunities to engage millennials. If you’re willing to do the outreach and marketing, or create special events to cultivate a $20-50 donation, move one step forward.  If you can prove that your programs help people directly and you can document a real successful outcome, take another step forward.  My next column will review millennials’ relationship with money and their decision-making about how they’re willing to support charitable organizations.

     

    September 11, 2019

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