Island Harvest rolls out their mobile pantry for seniors across Long Island twice a week. It stops at the General Douglas Macarthur Senior Village in Hempstead on Wednesday mornings to supplement what seniors are getting from social services.
“A lot of the products they give are nutritious and it helps stretch my budget,” said Valerie Anthony of Hempstead. A resident of the MacArthur Senior Village said, “I need Island Harvest. It helps me get through the week, get through the month.”
According to the national nonprofit ‘Feeding America’, nearly 33,000 people on Long Island over the age of 60 are food insecure, meaning they don't have access to enough food on a regular basis.
Allison Puglia, VP of programs and agency relations for Island Harvest said, “We know that many seniors are struggling to pay their bills and so food is the last option for them. They will pay medical bills and utility before they are buying food.”
In addition to food and cleaning supplies, Island Harvest provides education according to Puglia, who says, “When seniors come to get the food, we also provide support from different partners. Today we have a partner who is going to provide access to primary healthcare doctors, because there is a huge link between health and food insecurity.”
None of this would be possible if it wasn't for donations and volunteers, according to Allison Puglia, who says, “If we had more funding, we would be able to visit more senior housing complexes and serve more seniors.”
Many of the seniors FiOS1 News spoke to who receive food from Island Harvest say it makes a big difference in their lives. If you would like to learn more on how you get involved, visit the Island Harvest website.