harry chapin day
Harry Chapin at Veterans Memorial Auditorium in 1980. (Photo by Cindy Funk)

Last year, Suffolk County passed a law proclaiming July 16 Harry Chapin Day. Now, Nassau County legislators have introduced a bill that would do the same.

Chapin was a musician and activist who founded Long Island Cares, the food bank based in Hauppauge in 1980, and died on July, 16, 1981, in a car crash, at age 38. Legislators and the team at Long Island Cares want not only to honor his legacy, but to continue his work of fighting food insecurity in the region.

“We would raise ongoing awareness about the unfortunate prevalence of food insecurity in our region by celebrating Harry Chapin’s life and legacy each year,” said Legislator Arnold Drucker (D-Plainview), noting that Harry Chapin Day would be the first day of an annual, three-week food drive in Nassau. The bill is co-sponsored by all of Nassau County’ Democratic legislators.

“This bill is completely devoid of any political overtones, and for the life of me, I can’t understand how anybody could be opposed to it,” Drucker said, calling upon Republican legislators to support the bill. “If you are human, it should be automatic to empathize and have compassion for those who are struggling to realize basic and essential human needs.”

Drucker unveiled the bill at a news conference on Monday at the Long Island Cares headquarters in Hauppauge. He was joined by Michael W. Haynes, Chief Government Affairs Officer for Long Island Cares, Inc. – The Harry Chapin Food Bank; Paule Pachter, CEO of Long Island Cares; and Harry’s son, Josh Chapin.

“This year, Harry would’ve turned 80 years old, and who knows what Harry would’ve been doing with his music, with his political involvement. There are many who believe he would have been a member of Congress,” Pachter said. “People loved this man. Forty-two years after he’s gone, people still remember him with such great fondness. He really made a difference.”

According to Long Island Cares, more than 218,000 Long Islanders are food insecure, including 79,000 children.

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