Nassau County opens emergency food distribution center in Long Beach

James Bernstein for Long Beach Herald

June 18, 2020

Originally published in Long Beach Herald on June 16, 2020.

A continuing food insecurity crisis has prompted Nassau County to establish an emergency food distribution center in Long Beach that will operate one day a week for the next six months, County Executive Laura Curran announced Monday.

Food distributions have been taking place periodically in Long Beach, a number of them sponsored by the Martin Luther King Center.

Curran said the county has partnered with Long Island Cares, the Harry Chapin Regional Food Bank, to provide food at the Magnolia Senior Center, 650 Magnolia Avenue, in Long Beach. The food center began operating Monday.

The County will make use of a $106,000 federal Community Development Block Grant to operate the food center. In addition, the county has set aside $1 million in funding to assist the food banks with the purchase and distribution of supplies to families in need.

Nassau and Long Island Cares are working to open additional food distribution sites.

"My administration is committed to addressing the unprecedented surge in food insecurity on Long Island," Curran said. "No one in Nassau County should have to worry about putting food on the table for their family."

State Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a Long Beach Democrat, noted that the coronavirus has hit Long Beach hard. "Too many of our neighbors are worried about where their next meal will come from," Kaminsky said. Kaminsky noted that high unemployment "is going to be part of the new normal, and with the support of Nassau County, we will be able to respond to the increase in demand."

Paulie Pachter, CEO of Long Island Cares, said the Long Beach food bank "will enable us to assist a growing number of people in need over the next six-months as our region returns to some sense of normalcy."

Nassau County's unemployment rate has spiked since the coronavirus pandemic took hold in March. Long Beach was hit particularly hard, with its many restaurants and bars cutting staff during the shutdown. Those establishments are now allowed to serve patrons outdoors under Gov. Andrew Cuomo's Phase 2 re-opening plan.