There are many Long Islanders in need.
Think of this scene from Yaphank last week, when volunteers set up a drive-through turkey giveaway for former military service members at The Veterans Place, which offers supportive services. The line of cars waiting for trimmings and frozen Thanksgiving meat was two blocks long.
Or consider a letter in which a local child thankful for a package of donated food writes, “It helps my family save money for clothes and the rent in the house.”
A child should not have to worry about those things. But many do.
In both of these cases, aid was available thanks to Island Harvest, a hunger relief organization that helps about 300,000 people a year.
It’s one of the good causes supported by Newsday Charities' annual Help-A-Family drive. All the money the drive raises goes to charity because Newsday pays all administrative costs. Newsday Charities distributed nearly $700,000 within the last year to support local nonprofit organizations like Island Harvest.
Another is Mommas House, which helps mothers or soon-to-be-mothers who need housing or have fallen on hard times. One of its clients is a 21-year-old woman who had been taken from her parents as a child because of abuse and neglect, and placed with a family. When she wanted to move out of the house as an adult, she encountered another terrible situation. In the rented room of a house she could afford to live in, she was abused. She went to Mommas House. The group helped house her and, finding that she had learning difficulties, helped train her for a job. She now successfully works in child care, says director Patricia Shea.
There are stories like this all around us. There are children and adults who don’t get enough square meals. There are thousands of people without homes. Their predicaments may not be obvious. Hunger is invisible unless you look very closely. Homelessness can mean hopping among the couches of friends and family, sleeping in the cold in a car or staying in wooded areas that buffer many of our highways.
As the holiday season begins in earnest, take a moment to think of your neighbors close and wide. In this time of celebration, thanks and fellowship, we can help others live a little better each day.
Join us in giving what you can. You can find more information at newsdaycharities.org or by calling 631-843-3056. There’s work to be done.
— The editorial board