Randi Shubin Dresner, Island Harvest chief executive, in the food...

Randi Shubin Dresner, Island Harvest chief executive, in the food bank's new Hauppauge warehouse. (Oct. 11, 2011) Credit: Newsday / Thomas A. Ferrara

Randi Shubin Dresner, chief executive of Island Harvest, which provides food to about 300,000 needy persons a year on Long Island, always likes to think like a business person. She knew Island Harvest needed more space for a growing constituency, but didn't have a lot of money to fix up a new warehouse.

So, she did what any good business person would do -- she negotiated. Shubin Dresner said earlier this week that Island Harvest has taken a major new step in its mission to feed the hungry, leasing a 24,000-square-foot warehouse on Marcus Boulevard in Hauppauge. Currently, Island Harvest has a total of 8,000 square feet in two facilities, in Uniondale and Holbrook. The Hauppauge warehouse will open in about four to six weeks.

"Over the past two years, we increased the amount of food we deliver by over 2 million pounds a year," Shubin Dresner said. At the end of this year, she said, Island Harvest will have delivered 8.5 million pounds of food. The need is escalating, she said. The 300,000 people Island Harvest now serves is a 21 percent increase from 2006, when the organization last did a study of hunger on Long Island.

A year-and-a-half of negotiations won Island Harvest a lease at the Hauppauge warehouse. The Mineola-based organization persuaded unions and companies to donate architectural work, flooring and carpeting, and electrical fixtures and installation.

Les Hall, owner with his wife Alice Hall of Hall's Carpet Inc. of Floral Park, used to donate his unused trucks to haul Island Harvest food. Hall saw the Hauppauge warehouse. "It was a mess," he said.

His company donated all the flooring and carpeting. In exchange, Island Harvest introduced him to the New York Islanders. Hall's became the Islander's official flooring company. "We see what we can give back to them," Shubin Dresner said of the companies.


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