One by one, the children walked to the podium to share statistics about the plight of the region's less-privileged young people.

"Here on Long Island each year, 100,000 children are hungry and must seek help at food pantries and soup kitchens," Kayla Eidle, 12, of Huntington Station, a student in the education program at St. Hugh of Lincoln Roman Catholic Church, told more than 600 people gathered there Sunday afternoon.

They had come to Huntington Station for an interfaith, multicultural service to call attention to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s unfulfilled dream of ending poverty for children - specifically on Long Island.

"Almost 1,000 Long Island children were officially homeless in December 2009, living in shelters," added Briyana Cortes, 12, of Huntington Station, one of seven children who spoke. "Thousands more were unofficially homeless, doubling up with friends or relatives."

It was the fourth annual Interfaith Celebration and Choir Concert. This year's emphasis was on children, and the event featured a host of religious leaders offering prayers in languages ranging from Creole to Arabic, interspersed with performances by 10 choirs.

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"This is an opportunity to bring together people from many faiths and traditions to focus on Dr. King's dream of ending poverty and imagine that dream in the context of Long Island poverty," Richard Koubek, community outreach coordinator for LI Jobs with Justice and coordinator of the event, said before the program.

Another speaker, the Rev. Paul Ratzlaff, pastor of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Huntington, said in an interview that "people of faith need to speak out in favor of children's issues." The program, he said, was designed to "represent the diversity of faith traditions that we live with here on Long Island."

That meant the Muslim call to prayer offered by Hafizur Rehman of the Muslim Center of Long Island in Bay Shore was followed by the anthem "Sim Shalom - Grant Us Peace," performed by the choir of Kehillath Shalom Synagogue of Cold Spring Harbor.

Bishop Stephanie Riddle Green, pastor of the Joshua Baptist Cathedral in Huntington and the keynote speaker, said of King before the program that "his view on children was that they should be treated equally . . . and that all children, no matter their race, color or creed, should be able to work together and live together in the same areas. A great measure of his dream has come to pass. There's still a lot of work to be done."