HAUPPAUGE, NY – Monday, June 27, 2016
Long Island Cares, Inc., has announced that it will implement a new study to measure the capacity and distribution of its 574 community-based, member agencies in meeting the ongoing needs of Long Islanders struggling with domestic hunger and high food insecurity. This will be the third study that the regional food bank has implemented since 2009 which highlighted potential gaps in services, as well as the challenges that such programs as food pantries and soup kitchens face in providing emergency food and support services for Long Island’s hungry that is estimated at 316,000 including 70,000 children.
The first study that was published in 2009 received significant media coverage including, full-page description of the findings in Newsday. The initial study was implemented during the height of the financial recession and showed that most pantries and soup kitchens on Long Island were witnessing an increase in need for emergency food while at the same time unable to expand their services due to limited infrastructures and lack of sufficient volunteers. The 2009 Capacity and Distribution Study which was compiled by the accounting firm of Cerini & Associates also served as the catalyst for Long Island Cares’ focus to develop a series of its own direct service programs. These include a Mobile Pantry, Mobile Outreach Units, a Pet Pantry, and opening a first-of-its-kind community satellite center within the Village of Freeport.
The second study published in 2012 described several areas that saw marked improvement, among them, an influx of new volunteers to assist at their local community pantries and, local pantries making greater efforts to secure additional food donations from local supermarkets and retailers to increase support to local families in need. Long Island Cares also used the data from the 2012 study to develop two additional satellite locations in Lindenhurst and Huntington Station, and to create new direct services for veterans and children. Both studies were overseen by Michael Haynes, Chief Government Affairs Officer at Long Island Cares who worked with Douglas Koritz, PhD, a local economist to analyze the data collected. Both published documents were shared with Feeding America, the national membership organization for 197 food banks across the United States, as well as with all Long Island legislators.
According to Paule T. Pachter, Long Island Cares’ CEO, “Our Capacity and Distribution Studies are a critical tool for the regional food bank to use in measuring the effectiveness of the hundreds of programs that we support with food and funding. It’s very important for us to document the achievements of the network as well as any gaps in services for planning purposes since collectively we are all searching for solutions to reduce the incidence of hunger and food insecurity in the Long Island region. It’s also a valuable document that Long Island Cares and others can share with potential funding sources to further describe the extent of the issue on Long Island.
The 2016 study will begin to be implemented as of July 1st among their 574 member agencies with findings projected to be presented at Long Island Cares’ annual Government Affairs Breakfast in early December.