Island Harvest Food Bank has received $96,500 from Stop & Shop’s Food for Friends campaign.
The funding received from the Food for Friends initiative will be used to hire a part-time bilingual dietician to promote healthy eating habits among underserved populations in Nassau and Suffolk counties. Funding will also support Island Harvest Food Bank’s food collection and distribution programs.
Stop & Shop’s Food for Friends campaign raised more than $2 million for its 12 regional food bank partners, breaking all previous years’ donation records. Throughout May 2021, customers were able to give at checkout knowing that their donation would stay local and fight hunger in their communities since 100 percent of the money raised went to Stop & Shop’s regional food banks in its service areas. Customers were also able to donate non-perishable food items at marked donation bins at each Stop & Shop store to benefit local hunger relief organizations like Island Harvest.
“Stop & Shop’s Food for Friends campaign is symbolic of our relationship with Island Harvest,” Stefanie Shuman, community relations manager for Stop & Shop, said in a company statement. “We couldn’t ask for a better friend and partner in the fight against hunger on Long Island.”
Island Harvest estimates that 58 percent of the households receiving food through its network of food pantries, soup kitchens, and emergency feeding programs have at least one member with high blood pressure, and 33 percent have a member with diabetes. The food bank is driving a shift toward promoting better eating habits by offering healthier food choices that will eventually lead to more favorable health outcomes for people identified as food-insecure.
“There’s a definitive link between hunger, and food insecurity, and the ability to manage chronic diseases that include diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease,” Randi Shubin Dresner, president & CEO of Island Harvest, said in the statement. “Island Harvest Food Bank is providing healthier eating options to our clients that now include more fresh fruits and vegetables, dairy products, and protein along with specialized nutritional guidance to help improve the overall health of the people we serve.”
The food bank presently employs a full-time dietician to guide the organization on nutritional policy and promote healthier eating habits among its network of member agencies and direct clients but recognized a need to reach out to underserved, Spanish-speaking clients to offer nutritional advice and guidance such as how to prepare fresh food, shopping on a budget and resources.
Island Harvest Food Bank actively seeks to fill the part-time, bi-lingual dietician position and encourages people interested in sending their résumé to: [email protected].