long islanders
L. to R.: Noelle Campbell, Theresa Regnante, Vivian Hart, Marcelo Valenzuela, John O’Connell, Pat Guidice, John Bruckner, Ryan Powell, Kasey Scheid, and Pilar Moya-Mancera.

It’s no secret that the economic upheaval caused by the Covid-19 pandemic has had an impact on us all, but an effect some might not realize is the resulting intensified and increased need among hundreds of thousands of Long Islanders.

According to Island Harvest Food Bank, which provides food and other resources to people in need on Long Island, prior to the onset of Covid-19, there were more than 300,000 food-insecure Long Islanders, a number that has increased. In Nassau and Suffolk counties, according to United Way of Long Island, seniors are experiencing a dramatic impact of Covid-19, with older adults and those with serious health conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes, being the most vulnerable. This has led them to be unable to shop, cook and properly take care of themselves.

The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1049, one of the largest private sector labor unions on Long Island with more than 4,200 members, is one Long Island organization stepping up to the plate by actively supporting the Long Island community during these turbulent times. “It’s vital that Long Islanders rally together to support populations of our community that are often overlooked,” said Pat Guidice, business manager, IBEW Local 1049.  A supporter of working families, Pat has dedicated his career to advancing their rights and improving their lives.

“In addition to handling the utility work for National Grid and PSEG [Public Service Enterprise Group], our dedicated Long Island members also play an important role supporting the Long Island community. The Covid pandemic still has countless seniors confined to their homes and hundreds of thousands unable to provide meals for their families. Our members are working hard to help make a difference,” continued Guidice. 

In September, United Way of Long Island initiated an Essentials Supply Drive as part of its Safe at Home Seniors program to address the unmet health and social needs of the elderly who are isolated and may not be taking care of themselves. Local 1049 members have been working closely with United Way to collect personal items for vulnerable seniors who continue to shelter in place. 

“We are grateful to have Pat and his team of union members be a part of United Way of Long Island’s Essentials Drive for Seniors. The items collected will make a significant impact on the lives of seniors across Long Island,” said Theresa A. Regnante, President and CEO of United Way of Long Island.   

Island Harvest Food Bank recently held its annual Bethpage Turkey Drive, which kicked off Long Island’s annual food drive season. Local 1049 supported the Turkey Drive, helping many Long Island families enjoy a Thanksgiving holiday meal. 

To find out more about United Way of LI’s current campaigns, or to make a donation, visit unitedwayli.org/aboutus. To support Island Harvest, visit islandharvest.org.

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