Kimco teams with Island Harvest to feed Long Island
What happens when you band together the resources from five shopping centers, eager-to-help volunteers, and holiday spirit? You make a difference. And that’s exactly what happened at the recent Island Harvest Food Drive hosted by Kimco. On November 13, five of our Long Island, New York properties – Manetto Hill Plaza in Plainview, Jericho Commons in Jericho, Manhasset Center in Manhasset, King Kullen Plaza in Commack, and Turnpike Plaza in Huntington Station – collected enough food to supply 4,353 meals to community members in need!
It’s a statistic that shocks many the first time they hear it: 316,000 Long Islanders turn to Island Harvest’s network of soup kitchens, food pantries, and other feeding programs each year. Kimco started working with Island Harvest over 10 years ago, collecting food in our office a few times a year. Our big push had always been around the holidays and in the summer, and our relationship became even more meaningful when we participated in Island Harvest’s fundraising efforts around Hurricane Sandy.
This year we wanted to do more, and with the generosity and support of Kimco employees, as well as the guidance of Island Harvest, we were able to make a commitment on a larger scale. We orchestrated something that’s rather unique: a fresh produce food drive. A lot of kids don’t have the chance to experience fresh food or benefit from its nutritional value. Carrots, apples, lettuce, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, cantaloupe, and a list of other fresh fruits and vegetables were all encouraged as donations.
And of course, let’s not forget with Thanksgiving just last week, the turkeys. We had a total of 45 turkeys donated! We hope that the turkeys and the rest of the fresh produce collected through the food drive helped to feed a lot of families on Thanksgiving.
To make this possible, a lot of coordination was required. Island Harvest worked with their warehouse team so that they could facilitate a fast turnaround once the food arrived. We scheduled our event on a Friday, allowing Island Harvest to distribute the fresh produce quickly to families throughout the weekend. And, with the help of Kimco Northeast regional president, Josh Weinkranz, we strategically chose five Long Island shopping center locations, all with grocery stores as anchor tenants, to make it even easier for people to donate, and for employees in Kimco’s New Hyde Park headquarters to volunteer.
I personally worked out of the Whole Foods at Jericho Commons, where we had two shifts with three Kimco employees volunteering at each. I saw a lot of goodwill on my shift, and for every ten people who didn’t contribute, there was one shining donator who made a big difference. A feel-good moment that particularly struck me was when a cashier came over during her shift with a full bag of produce. She was a young girl probably in her early twenties and maybe strapped with college loan bills or car payments. I asked her if a customer left the bag accidentally on their way out and she no, that she wanted to help with a donation. It was heartwarming to see everyone, of all ages and backgrounds, who just wanted to help. In addition to the 5,224 pounds of food raised, we also received $939 in monetary donations.
Thanks to all who volunteered their time and donated to make our food drive with Island Harvest a huge success. Having the opportunity to give back to the communities in which we operate is something that we value greatly here at Kimco. For more information on how you can get involved with Island Harvest, please visit: http://www.islandharvest.org/.