‘Food Not Bombs’ provides Sandy relief to Long Island

Residents volunteer at the Food Not Bombs event

The relief effort continues to those who are still suffering from the effects of Hurricane Sandy, which struck Long Island a month ago. Hundreds of volunteers helped hand out food and clothing with the organization Food Not Bombs at Hempstead Train Station on Nov. 17.

As the holiday season draws near, Food Not Bombs organized their largest endeavor to date; a Thanksgiving bonanza, providing clothing, produce, hot food, and books to hundreds of community members.

“We are basically trying to change the opinions of the community,” said Keith McHenry, Co-Founder of Food Not Bombs. “So that everybody is in solidarity with the idea that no one should have to go hungry or to live in the streets and struggle to survive.”

Residents volunteer at the Food Not Bombs event

Volunteers provided relief to local communities at the Hempstead train station in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. (Photo Credit: Rachel O’Neill)

Food Not Bombs is an all-volunteer global movement that shares free vegan meals as a protest against war and poverty. The organization was also the largest food relief effort for Hurricane Katrina, and is helping each weekend to provide for those in need after Hurricane Sandy.

The crowds often vary in size, but the turnout at the Hempstead Train Station was a surprise even to seasoned volunteers. “This is definitely one of the biggest meals that Food Not Bombs has ever shared,” McHenry said.

Hundreds of people lined the streets to wait patiently for their turn to fill small metal baskets, plastic bags, or backpacks with the food and clothing being sorted on the other side of the tables.

“It is all going to be here for the community to receive a Thanksgiving bounty,” said Brian O’Haire, an activist and volunteer for Food Not Bombs.

As of October 2011, there are more than 400 chapters of Food Not Bombs, and the number of volunteers continues to grow each year.

Video credit to Claudia Balthazar