Evelyn Ouro-Rodrigues carried a 6-pound ham over her shoulder and dropped it into a box filled with hundreds of other donations to feed local families in need of a holiday meal.
After the Stop & Shop grocery store chain donated 1,500 Easter hams to Island Harvest and Lutheran charities locally and in New York City, track and field varsity captain Ouro-Rodrigues and 39 Long Island Lutheran High School varsity athletes helped unload the hams in the Brookville school's parking lot on Wednesday.
“LuHi does a lot to get involved in helping the community, especially when it comes to hunger,” said Ouro-Rodrigues, 16, of Valley Stream. “It’s easy to forget that there are people on Long Island in need of help, so we often hold food drives and go on mission trips to help in any way we can.”
The school’s varsity athletes unloaded the hams to Island Harvest representatives, as well as Bishop Robert Alan Rimbo, head of the Metropolitan New York Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Manhattan, for distribution locally and in New York City.
“Whenever we can work with local groups to help alleviate hunger on Long Island and in New York City, we’re happy to help in any way we can,” said Rimbo, of Inwood.
The hams will go to Trinity Church and Mercy Inn in Wyandanch, Transfiguration Lutheran Church in the Bronx, Trinity Lower East Side Lutheran Parish in Manhattan and the New LIFE Center food pantry of Lutheran Social Services of New York in Uniondale. The organizations will then distribute the hams to those in need or by soup kitchen.
Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO of Island Harvest in Hauppauge, said hunger is a year-round issue on Long Island. More than 300,000 face the risk of going hungry every day and each week about 65,000 Long Islanders utilize local feeding programs.
“Most people don’t know how significant the hunger movement is,” said Shubin Dresner. “Donations like these help us chip away at the problem of hunger.”
Charles Cicio, volunteer food coordinator at Mercy Inn in Wyandanch, dropped by to pick up 75 hams to be cut up and served in the soup kitchen.
“Our soup kitchen feeds up to 150 people a day,” said Cicio, 57, of Lindenhurst. “We’ll be cooking the ham and giving it out with starches and veggies as a hot meal to make the most of the ham we were given. Ham will be on the menu for the next two weeks.”