UNIONDALE, NY — Nassau County Executive Laura Curran today kicked off the largest ever food distribution in County history, and among the largest in State history in partnership with Island Harvest. As part of Nassau County’s $1M investment in the purchase and distribution of food supplies through local food banks, today over 4,000 units containing over 100,000 pounds of food including fresh produce, meat, canned and dry goods were distributed to residents outside Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum.
An estimated 20,000 families in need have now been provided a week’s worth of food supplies for a family of four to date as part of Nassau County’s new Community Food Distribution initiative. Since late April, Nassau County has held two dozen small and large-scale distributions as part of this initiative. The County will continue its partnership with Island Harvest and Long Island Cares with both large-scale events and pop-up distributions this summer.
“As we work to revive our economy, Nassau County will remain committed to addressing the food insecurity crisis triggered by COVID-19. We’ve reached every corner of the County with our food distribution events, and we’re not done yet. We will continue putting food on the table for families in need throughout this summer with distributions large and small. We’re proud that today’s event made history, and it wouldn’t have been possible without the hard work and dedication of our team of volunteers and our partners at Island Harvest — thank you all,” said Nassau County Executive Laura Curran.
The need to provide direct food support is evidenced by the increased number of applications to the Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP). The number of Nassau County residents seeking this assistance in April tripled, going from 1,095 in April 2019 to 3,786 in April 2020. The number of SNAP applicants increased 125% in May 2020 (2,385) compared to May 2019 (1,057). June 2020 SNAP applications (1,541) declined 35% from May 2020, but still represent a 41% increase from June 2019 (1,092).
Nassau County has set aside $1 million in federal CDBG-COVID (Community Development Block Grants) for food banks to collect, distribute and purchase food. The County has worked with school districts and community stakeholders to identify families in need and ensure they’re made aware of food distributions. In addition to providing families with over a week’s worth of healthy food, the County also provided distribution attendees with multi-lingual ‘Know Your Rights’ flyers and information about the 2020 Census.