It’s been a difficult year — more for some than others. The presidential election reminded us how frustrated many people are with the status quo, including the growing inequality between rich and poor.
On Long Island, according to a recent report, there’s been a sharp rise in poverty among children and youth. In just seven years, poverty rates spiked 53.2 percent in Nassau and Suffolk counties. By 2014, 9.9 percent of Long Islanders age 17 and younger were living in poverty.
That’s why this holiday season, it’s more important than ever to rediscover our generosity and give to those around us who are in need.
One of the most direct and effective ways to help our neighbors is through the annual Help-A-Family fundraising drive facilitated by Newsday Charities. Every cent donated is given to a local charity; none of the donation is used to pay administrative costs. What’s more, because of a 50 percent match from the Robert R. McCormick Foundation, every donation goes further. Giving $100 translates to $150 in benefits for families in need.
Charities that benefit include, for example, the Long Island Cares Mobile Food Pantry. The program delivers fresh produce, meat and non-perishable staples to more than 1,200 families in the Brentwood school district. Many needy students who get meals in school also are given food to take home on the weekends.
Another recipient charity is the Family and Children’s Association in Hempstead. This organization uses funds to address the educational needs of children who are disconnected from their families because they’ve run away or are in foster care. The center serves 500 Long Island young people each year, teaching everything from financial literacy to job skills to grooming and nutrition.
Now’s the time for Long Islanders to show who we are as a community. No contribution is too small. To learn more or to donate, please go to newsday.com/helpafamily or call 631-843-3056. — The editorial board