Nobody Cares More Than ‘LI Cares’

Local Non-Profit Opens Community Engagement Center

Elected officials and members of the Long Island Cares team. (Courtesy of: Senator Mattera's Office)

Senator Mario R. Mattera and other local representatives gathered to celebrate the expansion of Long Island Cares – also located on Davids Drive in Hauppauge – on Friday, December 3.

“It was great to join my fellow elected officials to help Long Island Cares cut the ribbon for the new Center for Community Engagement (CCE)!” Mattera shared in a Facebook post. “The Center will better enable Long Island Cares to work with other like-minded organizations to combat the issues that cause food insecurity and that will help our residents. Thank you to everyone at Long Island Cares, including CEO Paule Pachter, for all they do,” the Senator added. 

Late folk musician Harry Chapin founded Long Island Cares in 1980 – a year before the Huntington resident, at age 38, perished in a Long Island Expressway car accident while en route to perform at an Eisenhower Park-held free benefits concert.  

Forty years later, the loss of a larger-than-life, yet selfless artist-turned-activist still resonates with fellow Long Islanders who knew him best; friends, family, neighbors and fans of the “Cat’s in the Cradle” singer who, in following the path he first laid, have rallied to transform Chapin’s brainchild into the standard for excellence in local community service. 

Now, per the opening of CCE, the Long Island Cares team possesses the additional resources necessary to broaden their not-for-profit organization’s reach – thereby continuing to carry out its founder’s legacy – even further.

There was a major pandemic-related spike from about 35 million (people suffering hunger overall) to 50-55 million,” says Jason Chapin, Harry’s son,“but the numbers have been dropping.” 

According to a November breakdown featured on Long Island Cares’ website, the reduction came after a 54.8% increase in hunger network eligible candidates across the Island’s two counties brought upon by the pandemic. Analysis shows in the past six months, food insecurity-related visits have decreased by 7,439 people – 18.1 % overall. 

“Our 329 community-based agencies have done an outstanding job increasing their fundraising income and have sponsored several incredibly successful virtual fundraising events,” said Long Island Cares CEO Paule Pachter. “Although 285,642 people struggling to put food on their tables to feed their families and their pets is a large number, it’s far better than the 480,000 who turned to us at the height of the pandemic for emergency food assistance.”

“Back in the ‘70s, there weren’t a lot of people who multi-tasked like people do today,” Jason recalled. “Harry was always doing four of five things at once, and ‘brought it’ in everything he did.”

To “bring it” like Harry Chapin did, and his organization still does all these years later with their commitment to eliminate hunger and poverty, and to lessen the overall struggle of others, visit licares.org, whyhunger.org, or harrychapinfoundation.org.

Sports & Entertainment Editor for The Messenger Papers.