Island Harvest Food Bank boasts a new 43,560-square-foot headquarters in Melville, and with it, a new brand identity. A ribbon-cutting on Thursday at the new building was attended by more than 150 supporters.
The new building is twice the size of its previous Hauppauge location, allowing the hunger-relief and social services organization to boost its ability to help Long Islanders facing food insecurity. Now, the organization aims to launch and grow programs to help people in such areas as job skills, good nutritional habits, benefits assistance and more.
The new space comes at a time when demand for services to alleviate food insecurity has increased on Long Island. Experts say that amid the pandemic and continued economic uncertainty – including higher prices for food, fuel, and other essentials – more Long Islanders grapple with how to feed their families.
In its fiscal year that ended on June 30, 2021, Island Harvest supplemented more than 15 million meals among 600,000 Long Island families struggling with those challenges. This accounts for an 83% increase in the amount of food distributed over the prior year among more than twice the number of families seeking food assistance in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
Island Harvest purchased the Melville property on three acres at 126 Spagnoli Road in Melville for $8.1 million in 2021. The new facility features energy-efficient lighting, heating and air conditioning systems. Its warehouse was designed to ensure efficiency in receiving, sorting, storing and distributing food, including fresh perishable items like produce, dairy, and meat, in a 4,300 square-foot combined freezer-refrigeration unit that is 12 times that of its previous facility.
Four loading docks equipped with hydraulic levelers make the loading and unloading of products safer and more efficient. A mezzanine-loft area provides storage for office equipment and non-food-related supplies, thus giving more room for food and products on the main warehouse level. A high-tech ventilation system will be installed shortly, offering a better air filtration system allowing Island Harvest to maintain a consistent and clean, temperature-controlled environment to help ensure the safety of the food and its staff.
The new, brightly-themed logo and its tagline, “Nourishing Long Island’s Future,” created pro-bono by New York City-based Goldstein Group Branding, allude to the healthy foods offered by Island Harvest, and an “optimistic , yet attainable mission” of helping to reduce hunger and food in security in the region, according to Island Harvest.
The “logo was designed to reflect our evolution over the last three decades and symbolizes our dynamic future while remaining true to our longstanding reputation as a source of healthy food, social services and support to our neighbors in need,” Randi Shubin Dresner, president and CEO of Island Harvest, said in a statement. “The logo’s bright colors and depiction of nutritious food and a new tagline reinforce our commitment to a healthier Long Island.”
Island Harvest Food Bank has created new strategic programs and services to address the root cause of food insecurity. These programs include Nutrition Pathways to Health, Healthy Harvest initiative, Community Empowerment program. Plans for a new Workforce and Skills Development Institute aim to “promote self-sufficiency to help lift people from uncertainty to stability in a dignified manner,” according to Island Harvest.
The new headquarters garnered high praise from experts.
“I know that Island Harvest Food Bank and its many volunteers will use this space to more deeply serve their community and expand the incredible services they provide, which are needed now more than ever,” Katie Fitzgerald, president and chief operating officer of Feeding America, said in a statement.
“Island Harvest has done tremendous work in their community to bring food to families in need, particularly during the pandemic through the Nourish New York program, which connects our farmers with people facing food insecurity through New York’s network of food banks,” New York State Agriculture Commissioner Richard Ball said in a statement.