Raia Honors Island Harvest Volunteers’ Bounty

Largest hunger-relief organization celebrated at Northport Public Library
May 1, 2009

Assemblyman Andrew Raia is joined by (back row, left to right) Loretta Sehlmeyer; Lee Heit-Beck; Sen. John Flanagan (2nd District); Island Harvest President Randy Dresner; keynote speaker and CBS Radio LI Bureau Chief Mike Xirinachs; Kathryn MacDonald; Sen. Marcellino’s staffer, Mary Ann Hicks; Sen. Owen Johnson’s staffer, Ann Parmely; and (front row) Christian Sehlmeyer; Greta Farrell; Calder and Jane Schecterson; and Stephanie Parmely. Donald Matthews is not pictured.

Assemblyman Andrew Raia (R,I,C-East Northport) expressed his gratitude to the volunteers of Island Harvest, the largest hunger-relief foundation on Long Island with an awards ceremony at the Northport Public Library on Thursday, April 30. A non-profit, Island Harvest was founded in 1992 and has since grown to become the third-largest hunger-relief group in the United States, delivering about seven million pounds of food every year to those in need. The organization’s employees have grown as well: a staff of 18 oversees more than 1,000 trained volunteers; on April 30, many of these selfless individuals were feted by Raia and other public officials. The keynote speaker for the awards ceremony was Mike Xirinachs, Long Island Bureau Chief for WCBS Radio 880 AM. Later, Xirinachs interviewed volunteer Lee Heit-Beck. The audio of that interview ran on WCBS this morning. The honorees received official certificates of merit from Assemblyman Raia as well as certificates of thanks from Island Harvest. Senators Flanagan, Marcellino and Johnson also supplied certificates of recognition and Senate proclamations to the volunteers.

“I am so pleased to honor the service and compassion of these selfless volunteers,” said Raia. “Members of Island Harvest represent the best of our community; their commitment to the less fortunate and hungry is an inspiration to all of us. Food feeds the body. Good works nourish the soul.”