Charlotte is 93 years old and lives alone, but still remains independent, able to care and cook for herself. She was referred to the Mobile Pantry of Long Island Cares by Suffolk County Department of Social Services’ Adult Protection Unit. Charlotte’s connection with Long Island Cares has increased her socialization with the community and has aided in her continued independence, preventing further adult service interventions. In addition, Charlotte is able to receive nutritious items that can ensure a balanced diet to help keep her healthier longer.
Debra is a long-standing volunteer of Long Island Cares, but she and her family found themselves nearly destitute after Superstorm Sandy ravaged their home on the south shore. Long Island Cares’ Emergency Response and Recovery Program was able to assist her directly with supplies and resources to help her rebuild her family home. It is volunteers like Debra who help make our programs successful, and it is our privilege to be able to help her remain in her community. She continues to donate her time and is very appreciative of the help she received. She continues to advocate for those in need, and reminds clients she assists in the pantry who may be embarrassed to be there that she is a perfect example that hunger and catastrophe do not discriminate.
Senora Olga, a single mother of two small children aged 4 and 7, relocated to Hempstead from Honduras. She had been in the country for three years and was able to occasionally clean houses to pay for a room in a house in Hempstead. The Village of Hempstead deemed the living situation unsuitable. Olga and her children were staying at a women and children’s shelter in Freeport that referred her to Long Island Cares (LIC). She came into our Nassau Service Center hoping for food and employment assistance. She immediately gave a sigh of relief when she was able to express her hardships in her native language to the site manager. The eager volunteers were able to assist her through our client choice pantry, but in a limited way, due to the language barrier. The site manager immediately connected her with Literacy Nassau. Literacy Nassau is a program that provides services each year for hundreds of Nassau County adults who are functionally illiterate, assisting them, their families toward self-sufficiency and personal success. Literacy Nassau occupies the Nassau Service Center’s training room regularly to teach ESL classes. Senora Olga has attended classes, and is on her way to becoming self-reliant! Being able to speak English will allow her to find a good paying job and buy food for her and her kids.
After surviving a devastating house fire, Margaret and her three young children found themselves living in the homes of a number of friends and family. With all of her income going to finding a new place to call home, Margaret found herself struggling to feed her children. A visit to Long Island Cares offered Margaret the opportunity to secure a large amount of emergency food and supplies during her difficult time. While at our South Shore Service Center, Margaret received important referrals to a number of outside resources, including SNAP, emergency housing, and health insurance. By giving Margaret enough food to feed her children, Long Island Cares has been able to ease the burden of a family trying to get back on their feet.
23 year old Greg first came to Long Island Cares in need of a support system. Homeless and abandoned by his family, he had been struggling to make it on his own for some time. Facing an addiction problem with several dangerous substances, Greg knew he needed help. In addition to food and bedding, we were able to provide Greg with a variety of resources such as rehabilitation centers and service communities that would be able to offer professional help in his return to normalcy. Prepared with much of the information needed to live a healthy and safe life, Greg left his first visit to Long Island Cares empowered. For the first time in several years, he had the support of a group of people all rooting for his success.
Michelle, age 28, is a veteran of service in the Middle East. As she ended her service, Michelle found integration back into civilian life difficult. Through Long Island Cares, Michelle has been able to access food and support services and comes to our Military Appreciation Tuesdays regularly. Visiting our pantry weekly, Michelle receives food for herself and her puppy which eases her financial concerns as she navigates applying for SNAP and other benefits. After a full assessment by Long Island Cares, we were able to refer her to additional services she is eligible for through the Veterans Administration and the Dwyer Project. 84 year old Maureen is the widow of a World War II veteran. Many years after her husband’s passing, she has found herself struggling to make ends meet. Through regular visits to Long Island Cares during our Military Appreciation Tuesdays, Maureen has been able to lower her grocery bills by several hundred dollars each month. These savings have allowed Maureen to live a more financially secure life, as she is now able to make her many bill payments. Maureen has also been able to connect with a number of veterans and spouses facing similar conditions, which has significantly eased her mind by reminding her that she is not alone. Even Maureen’s children have reported that Long Island Cares has helped their mother get back on track.
A United States Navy Veteran’s family has been frequenting Long Island Cares since their home was devastated by Super Storm Sandy in 2012. When a landlord refused to repair the damages, our veteran and family found themselves facing financial duress they have never known. But after receiving much needed products from our South Shore Service Center, this lovely family has reported “finally seeing the light.” The money they have saved through supplementing their food with food from our organization has been significant in allowing them to begin paying off loans and repair bills that have haunted them since the storm.
“Meow, Meow means I love you” was written on a thank you note received from J.S. of Lindenhurst who contacted Long Island Cares Pet Pantry, desperately in need of cat food and litter for her cats. Living alone, J.S.’s cats provide her with the companionship and love needed for her continued independence. At her request a special mobile delivery was made with an abundance of pet food, supplies and other referrals for her to care for her furry family members in need.
When 5 year old Cam came to a Long Island Cares workshop with his mom, he didn’t know what the food bank was, and his Mom was not aware of all of the programs we had to offer. As Cam came into the lobby, he saw a colorful display of brand new school supplies, and his eyes opened wide. Through an assessment by our Community Outreach Department, we learned that Cam, who was beginning kindergarten in the Fall did not yet have school supplies. His Mom didn’t have the money to meet the very demanding list of items sent by the school district. She was distraught about how she was going to give her son the proper tools needed to start the school year successfully. Cam and his mom were brought into our School Tools Showroom, where Cam was able to choose the items he needed and wanted, and Mom was able to check ‘get school supplies’ off her list of concerns, happy that Cam would be starting school with confidence and the right tools for school success.