Long Island Press: LI Group Provides Vegetarian Meals for Thanksgiving

Long Island Press: LI Group Provides Vegetarian Meals for Thanksgiving

Originally Published on LongIslandPress.com
By Timothy Bolger on November 25th, 2010

Article Link: http://www.longislandpress.com/2010/11/25/li-group-provides-vegetarian-m...

All the fixins were there for the taking, free of charge: cranberry sauce, stuffing, plenty of vegetables, assorted bread and of course, apple and pumpkin pie. Everything but the turkey, but that was no accident.

More than a dozen Long Island Food Not Bombs volunteers passed out roughly 10,000 lbs. of vegetarian and vegan food in Huntington Station on Tuesday night, same as every week–no questions asked. The crowd was three deep along 10 tables during one of five weekly foodshares the group offers in its goal to feed the hungry with donations from local stores and restaurants, much of which is passed the sell-by date but still edible. But this mission goes beyond simply helping those who can’t pay their grocery bills.

“We’re not just giving food, we’re breaking down barriers in the community,” said Jon Stepanian, a freelance writer who co-founded the local chapter of this international movement more than four years ago. “Some [recipients] don’t get along, but even that one hour they have to stand next to each other on line forces them to.”

The 26-year-old Huntington resident also helps organize similar weekly foodshares in Coram, Farmingville, Brooklyn and Hempstead, where nearly 1,000 people showed up Sunday. Crowds and donations had grown bigger ahead of Thanksgiving. Volunteers include senior citizens, college students, parents with elementary school-aged children and everyone in between.

A high point for Stepanian was when a woman explained the math for just how much saving $80 per week on groceries could help her family: In 14 years, she would have saved more than $17,000, or enough money to be able to send her kids to college.

In the rare event there are leftovers after the crowds have left, the remaining food is donated to food pantries, soup kitchens and foodbanks like Islanded Harvest. The region’s other island-wide food bank recently began bringing food directly to distressed communities: Long Island Cares–The Harry Chapin Food Bank.

“What sets us apart I think is the spirit,” said Brian O’Haire, a peace activist who volunteers with the organization because it couples antiwar ideals with its mission to feed the hungry. “Just the name of it I think shows how we feel.”

The group’s title is shorthand for their chief underlying message that funding food instead of war would solve world hunger. They also believe vegetarian and vegan diets are more environmentally sustainable.

But political affiliation and agenda were put aside when those with growling stomachs lined up on side of auto repair shop Tuesday. Among the more than 200 on line were many from the immigrant community as well as the underemployed and unemployed.

“It’s a beautiful thing,” said Earl McCullers, a 56-year-old veteran living on a fixed income. “This is really a helpful hand and I really appreciate what they’re doing here.”

Long Island Food Not Bombs will be providing hot lunches in Farmingville on Thanksgiving Day. For more information, visit www.lifnb.com


Originally Published on LongIslandPress.com
By Timothy Bolger on November 25th, 2010

Article Link: http://www.longislandpress.com/2010/11/25/li-group-provides-vegetarian-m...

Posted Dec 1 2010 - 6:56pm by LongIslandFNB

Share This: