Nassau University Medical Center on Friday announced an upgrading of an assistance center that provides veterans with free food, clothing and other necessities.
The food pantry, which will be updated partly through a $10,000 donation from the East Meadow Kiwanis Club, is expected to serve at least 2,000 veterans a year after the refurbishing, officials said.
“I’m really glad to help these veterans any way we can,” said Dr. Victor Politi, president and chief executive of the hospital. “These people really gave all they can to us and now they need us.”
The refurbishing will include painting walls, putting in new floors, buying new appliances and redoing ceilings, officials said.
The food pantry, which opened about two years ago, is adjacent to a VA clinic that the hospital has run since 2011. The clinic serves 2,000 to 3,000 veterans a month, officials said.
Nassau County is home to about 70,000 veterans, one of the largest concentrations in the state, officials said.
Some of the Kiwanis money will be used to beautify the front entrance of the clinic and food pantry by providing benches and a small reflecting pond where veterans can wait for the buses and vans that pick many of them up, Politi said.
The food pantry offers veterans free of charge everything from cereal to pasta to toiletries, said Paul Vista, deputy director of the Nassau County veterans service agency, which runs the food pantry.
Anyone can donate food or other items to the center, officials said, and the food is inspected by pantry workers to ensure it meets safety standards.
One Marine who attended the event, Staff Sgt. Eliezer Gomez, 30, who is based in Garden City at a Marines training center, said, “I think it is a good project for veterans in the community.”
He said it is “killing two birds with one stone” since veterans can come to the clinic to take care of their health issues and at the same time pick up free food and supplies.