Help save our food pantries

Help save our food pantries


 Dear Friends,
 
As America slowly digs it way out of the worst recession in decades, the Long Island Council of Churches is feeding more and more hungry people with fewer and fewer resources. Diminished federal funding means reduced funding for the pipeline that sustains the safety net on State, County and local levels. 
 
For more than 30 years Nassau County’s Department of Social Services has asked the Long Island Council of Churches to assist people in need  .  Thirty years ago we were feeding about 200 a month.  By 2010 we were feeding 1,200/month–but our contract with the County has not gone up a cent since we opened the emergency food center in the 1970’s.  This year, in fact, the County cut our contract with the Department of Social Services by $27,000 for 2011.  Last year’s contract covered about 40% of our costs to operate the program.  This year they want us to feed over 1,200 people a month with 21% less!
 
In Suffolk where our Riverhead facility regularly feeds 700 people a month – and sometimes more than 1,000 – the Department of Social Services pays us a mere $5,000 a year to assist the people they send to us for help.  As I noted my Newsday April 11th article “How can LI say no to the hungry?” I’m not pleading for the State to subsidize the Church.  Currently, we, the Church, are subsidizing the State.  That’s morally and financially intolerable, and it’s unworkable.
 
I can’t forget the young mother with a seven-month baby who walked five miles from her residence in Hempstead to our Freeport Emergency Food Center for infant formula. She couldn’t afford to buy the infant formula and she couldn’t afford the bus fare. 
 
We are stretched to the breaking point.  We cannot reduce expenses further and still serve Long Islanders in need.  We’re trying to raise the funds we need to fill the gap between the needs and the diminished resources we have to meet those needs.  Please help us fill the empty shelves by giving as much as you can so we won’t have to turn our hungry neighbors away.
 
Thank you and May God bless you.
 
 Tom
 
The Rev. Thomas W. Goodhue
Executive Director