Food bank distributes Thanksgiving boxes on Long Island

For the seemingly endless number of cars and the people inside them patiently waiting their turn outside the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, a box with a turkey and all the trimmings will definitely make a difference this Thanksgiving.

The year undoubtedly has been a difficult one for Valerie of Westbury.

"I'm a single mom, this helps a lot, money for my mortgage, bills," she said. "I lost an uncle from COVID, an aunt and a cousin."

The economic strain of the coronavirus pandemic has more than 400,000 Long Islanders turning to food banks to feed their families. The unemployment rate is eight times higher than it was this time last year, according to Island Harvest Food Bank.

"Today you will see Jaguars, BMWs and Mercedes pulling up next to Fords, Chevys and Mazdas," said Randi Shubin Dresner, the president and CEO of Island Harvest. "We call this a no-judgment zone. We know that COVID brought them to our lines."

Many people on the line have lost all of their income.

"I've been unemployed since March, I'm a senior citizen, this really comes in handy," said one man. "I'm thankful."

Families who didn't receive a box can reach out to Island Harvest, which is working with other agencies to make sure no one goes hungry this holiday season.

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