Community Assist Program 2024

The 214 home ice assists registered by the New York Islanders on the ice this season translated to about 21,300 meals in the community and a step toward fighting food insecurity on Long Island.

The Stop & Shop donated $10,700 to Island Harvest in partnership with the Islanders via the Community Assist Program on Monday. In addition to the funding, staffers from both the Islanders and Stop & Shop teamed up along with former Islanders defenseman Eric Cairns and Sparky the Dragon to help package boxes of food for senior citizens in need. The volunteers packed each box with 35 non-perishable food items.

“The facility at Island Harvest does such good work in the community and food is such an important part of life,” said Cairns. “Packing this food and getting it out to the people who need a bump is so important, it’s a great process to be a part of.”

The effort and the funds will go a long way. President and CEO of Island Harvest Randi Shubin Dresner explained that the $10,700 donated will help support about 21,300 meals at the local level.

“Two incredible organizations that really believe in supporting the community are helping us in our mission to end food hunger on Long Island,” said Shubin Dresner. “People are struggling to put food on the table for themselves and their families. In too many situations, moms and dads are giving up meals so that their kids can eat.”

Island Harvest works tirelessly to support children, veterans and families in need. Monday’s packing focused on their Senior Box Program, which distributes meals to seniors whose income falls below $1,500 a month, where affording necessities can be a challenge.

In a grassroots effort, Island Harvest connects with senior centers and towns in low-income communities in Nassau and Suffolk counties to help identify seniors in need. Shubin Dresner explained that the program is gearing up to further expand their efforts come the fall.

“We deliver 4,000 boxes a month, and in October the program is doubling to support 8,000 seniors,” Shubin Dresner said. “It’s really important to put a face to people who are hungry.”

Similarly, Cairns pointed out how inter-connected the Long Island community can be. The meaningful work put in has a tremendous impact at the local level.

“It’s about the community and supporting people that might need a little help,” Cairns said. “We might know some of these people in the community – they might be a neighbor or a friend’s cousin – so for us being able to help out, it’s such an amazing thing and we’re trying to do our part.”