The New York Islanders teamed up with Stop & Shop for its annual Turkey Express donations to two Long Island food banks.
Island Harvest Food Bank and Long Island Cares’ Harry Chapin Food Bank each received 1,000 turkeys with an assist from the hockey team.
Several Islanders alumni helped offload the Thanksgiving turkeys, including Huntington resident and NHL Hall of Famer Clark Gillies; Brightwaters resident and Islander defenseman, Eric Cairns; and Steve Webb, a former Islanders forward and Suffolk County resident.
Also helping in the effort were the team’s mascot, Sparky, and Monte, the Islanders new Puppy with a Purpose.
According to the two food banks, one in six children on Long Island are food insecure with childhood food insecurity rates on Long Island increasing by 26% as compared to pre-pandemic levels. Both food banks serve about 300,000 individuals on Long Island each year.
“Stop & Shop is thankful for the Islanders and their alumni who joined our effort to help the food banks address hunger on Long Island,” Stefanie Shuman, Stop & Shop’s external communications manager for Long Island, said in a company statement. “We know that food insecurity remains a challenge and Stop & Shop is proud to support the food banks’ efforts to deliver hundreds of thousands of meals to our neighbors who need them the most.”
Paule Pachter, CEO at Long Island Cares, said Stop & Shop and the New York Islanders are valued partners in the fight against hunger and food insecurity.
“Their generous donations this year will go a long way in helping many families enjoy the holidays,” Pachter said in the statement.
Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO of Island Harvest Food Bank, said hunger is a year-round problem on Long Island that has increased because of the pandemic and the region’s high cost of living.
“However, no one should experience the harsh reality of hunger, especially children,” she said. “We are grateful to Stop & Shop and the New York Islanders for their generosity and longstanding partnership in helping to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors struggling to feed their families, not just during the holidays, but throughout the year.”