(BETHPAGE, N.Y.) - Nassau County Legislator Arnold W. Drucker (D - Plainview) joined Harry Chapin’s son, Josh, and leaders of Long Island Cares - The Harry Chapin Food Bank at the organization’s Essential Market in Bethpage on Monday, May 2 to unveil legislation that would designate July 16 as Harry Chapin Day in Nassau County.
Not only would recognizing the acclaimed musician and humanitarian generate much-needed awareness about the prevalence of food insecurity in our region, Legislator Drucker’s proposal - which is co-sponsored by the Legislature’s seven-member Minority Caucus - would also direct the County to partner with Long Island Cares and local community organizations to host an annual, three-week long food drive starting on July 16. Donations will also be accepted for Baxter’s Pet Pantry, a Long Island Cares initiative focused upon delivering emergency pet food and supplies to struggling families.
“Harry Chapin distinguished himself as a musical storyteller whose gift for capturing the human condition in song made him one of our most beloved and relatable entertainers,” Legislator Drucker said. “His talents as a musical storyteller are only eclipsed by his desire to help others and his remarkable mission to end hunger here on Long Island and around the world. I can think of no better way of celebrating his life’s work than by supporting the cause he so passionately advocated for.”
“We are very grateful to Legislator Drucker for proposing that July 16th be commemorated as Harry Chapin Day in Nassau County. Long Islanders had great love and respect for the way that Harry used his celebrity statis and global platform to call for and to hunger during his lifetime,” Long Island Cares CEO Paule Pachter said. “Sadly, Harry’s lifetime ended on July 16, 1981 at the age of 38 but, he left the world his music, stories and one historic Long Island organization that continues his work and social advocacy four decades later.”
“I’m sure our beloved founder would be thrilled with this honor,” Long Island Cares Board President Dave Cassaro said. “Beyond that, he would be even more thrilled that Long Island Cares continues to fight to end not only food insecurity, but also the root causes of hunger.”
“Our founder, Harry Chapin, paved the way for socially conscious entertainers like we have today. He used his celebrity for good - and utilized his platform and following to shine a light on the interconnected issues of hunger and poverty both here in America and abroad,” Long Island Cares Chief Government Affairs Officer Michael Haynes said. “Realizing the importance of thinking globally but acting locally, he founded Long Island’s first food bank, Long Island Cares, Inc., in 1980. For all this and so much more, he deserves every July 16th to be recognized as Harry Chapin Day.”
“My dad really brought a relentless positive energy. When you think of him, he was inspirational - and he was inspired by love, and he was inspired by doing the right thing,” Harry’s son Josh Chapin said. “One of the last things I did in Nassau County with him was to go to the beginning of that [New York Islanders] Stanley Cup run… and I think about collective energy that is so beautiful in a sports arena and the inspiration that comes from sacrifice and working together and being greater than the sum of your parts. My dad really recognized that; Long Island Cares recognizes that; and I think it’s inherent in the Suffolk County Huntington community I grew up in, but also here in Nassau. I’d love to see that continue.”
PHOTO CAPTION - From left: Josh Chapin; Legislator Drucker; Long Island Cares CEO Paule Pachter; and Chief Government Affairs Officer Michael Haynes, pictured in Bethpage on Monday, May 2.
PHOTO CREDIT - Office of Legislator Arnold W. Drucker