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Island Harvest seeking donations

Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO of Island

Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO of Island Harvest prepares donations in a warehouse in Uniondale in August. Photo Credit: Ed Betz

Island Harvest is desperately seeking turkeys and food donations after seeing a 68 percent increase in Thanksgiving meal requests from its 570 member agencies.

There have been 42,000 requests for turkeys as of last week, compared to 25,000 a year ago, said Randi Shubin Dresner, chief executive of the Mineola-based nonprofit.

Food pantries, shelters and other nonprofit food outlets have been facing declines in donations as the numbers of “food insecure” Long Islanders rose.

This has been the case since the subprime lending market collapsed in August 2007 and Wall Street imploded in September 2008, leaving many out of jobs or with less income. Some regular donors themselves became users of pantries, and nonprofit heads said companies were running more food drives than in the past but getting fewer offerings. Some families were going to pantries for free food to save money for their mortgages.

“We realize that many families are struggling because of the economy, so we would be grateful for any donation, no matter how small,” Shubin Dresner said. (That's her, above left, at an Island Harvest warehouse.)

Each week, almost 65,000 people go to emergency or supplemental food programs on Long Island, according to Island Harvest.

The annual Turkey and Trimmings Collection Campaign runs through the end of the year. 

Frozen turkeys, canned or dry goods, supermarket gift cards or money can be dropped off at Island Harvest warehouses, 875 Jerusalem Ave., Uniondale, and 90-7 Collin Drive, Holbrook; hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays and 12-5 p.m. weekends. Every McDonalds on Long Island will accept canned goods for the nonprofit and every Panera Bread will accept frozen turkeys.

For details, go to islandharvest.org or call 516-294-8528.

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