Spreading Smiles and Collecting Meals for Hunger Action Month

Sign for Feeding Families in Stop & ShopImagine a sunny September day filled with the promise of making a difference. That’s exactly what happened when Long Island Cares teamed up with NBC 4 / Telemundo 24 and Stop & Shop for the Feeding Our Families food drive this month.

But this wasn’t just any food drive: it was a Hunger Action Month adventure to provide families across New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey with a million meals.

Hunger Action Month is a nationwide campaign dedicated to raising awareness about the reality of hunger in America. What better way to act than to collaborate with  Stop & Shop on its mission to collect one million meals for families in need, all in less than 10 hours?

Hold onto your shopping carts; this is the story of how we did it!

People at a table for a food drive

Daniel Wolk, the External Communications Manager at Stop & Shop, summed it up perfectly: “There’s a bigger need now than during any of our other food drives. Our communities are feeling the pinch, whether it’s sky-high prices or the cost of living on Long Island. Many of our neighbors are stuck choosing between paying rent or putting food on the table. That’s something that should never happen, especially during Hunger Action Month.”

So, what’s the secret recipe for success? It’s all about teamwork and dedication from Long Island Cares volunteers like Cheryl, who transformed the Miller Place Stop & Shop into a bustling food frenzy. She greeted potential donors with a smile and a heartfelt plea to help their hungry neighbors, not letting a single shopper enter the store without hearing about the drive.

Cheryl wasn’t alone in her mission to feed families. Sara and her eight-year-old volunteer extraordinaire, Amelia, joined in, dedicating their efforts to a deceased family friend who believed in the power of giving. Sara beamed with pride, saying, “We help out all over Long Island. It started with Huntington, but now we go everywhere, spreading kindness in my friend’s honor.”

In just a few hours, the trio filled eight Long Island Cares food drive boxes with everything from canned veggies and cereal to toothpaste and hygiene products. The outpouring of generosity was so immense that they ran out of boxes with six hours left in the drive. They had to borrow more from Stop & Shop. Talk about a great problem!

Man at the product section at Stop & Shop

Cheryl and Sara credited their success to shopping lists provided by Long Island Cares and Stop & Shop. “Those lists were like our secret ingredient,” Cheryl revealed. “They gave people a clear idea of what we  needed, and shoppers came through in a big way.”

People at a table for a food drive

Fast forward to the end of the 10-hour adventure, and Stop & Shop had hit the jackpot, reaching the goal of collecting one million meals across the tri-state area. Of that total, Long Island Cares hauled in a jaw-dropping 34,000lbs of food and more than $9,000 in donations for our Long Island neighbors.

So, what’s the recipe for such a heartwarming success story during Hunger Action Month? It’s a mix of excellent planning, fantastic teamwork, and the unwavering commitment of volunteers.

Now, as shoppers put away their grocery lists, they eagerly await the next opportunity to whip up some kindness and feed their neighbors in a truly meaningful way.

Bon appétit!


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