The Hauppauge Industrial Association launched its seventh annual food drive to benefit on Wednesday.
The HIA is asking its corporate members to sign up to host a food drive with the goal of raising more than 100,000 pounds of food by September to donate to LI Cares.
"This is a real slow time for food drives. Everyone thinks of doing something during the holiday season, but this is the time of year people are home the most," said Elana Sissons, food drive coordinator for LI Cares.
The HIA held its first food drive benefiting the Hauppauge food bank in 2005, collecting more than 38,000 pounds of food. Over the years, the amount donated annually has nearly tripled as more than 95,000 pounds was collected in 2010.
"This is a very signficant event. It's signficant because more than 300,0000 people on Long Island rely on food banks, soup kitchens and pantries to make ends meet," said Paule Pachter, executive director of Long Island Cares.
The Hauppauge nonprofit is collecting nonperishable food donations, personal hygiene items, pet supplies and school supplies to distribute to its 560 member agencies across Long Island, and for use by its own First Stop Food Pantry and Mobile Outreach units.
Hauppauge businesses can sign up to take part in the food drive by calling the HIA offices at 631-543-5355. LI Cares will provide participants with the cardboard donation bins, posters, list of suggested donations and even schedule to pick up the donations.
Robert Kothe, a member of the HIA Food Drive committee and owner of Factxback, said companies can take part by holding a two-week food drive before September.
"The truth is most people procrastinate until it's time to bring in a [donation] box. Then they go home and raid their pantries," Kothe said.
He said some companies will divide their employees into teams to see who can raise the most donations, then offer an incentive or reward to the winning team. He encouraged business owners to find unique ways to keep the food drive interesting and fun to meet the 100,000 pound goal.