The early-stage memory loss groups at the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation (LIAF) of Port Washington and Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center of East Hills will hold food drives this June to benefit Island Harvest, an organization providing food to a network of more than 570 food pantries, soup kitchens, and other feeding programs across Long Island.
The initiative was launched in response to the desire expressed by participants in LIAF’s early stage program to find ways to remain active and have value in their communities.
“After I was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, my avenues to stay productive and feel purposeful diminished,” stated LIAF participant, Leslie Newson. “I am so thankful to have found LIAF, and appreciate the opportunity to work with LIAF and Island Harvest to ‘give back’ to our community.”
During the month of June, participants in the Al’z Club program at the Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation and the G.E.M.S. program at Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center will bring in non-perishable food items to be distributed through Island Harvest.
“The food drive is a natural outgrowth of LIAF’s efforts to help people with Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions focus on the many positive things they can still achieve,” stated Alana Rosenstein, LMSW, Director of Early-Stage Programs. “Our participants have much value to contribute to our community, and much ‘life worth living’ left ahead of them. This project underscores that.”
“I miss the sense of value and involvement that I got from my career,” said Newson whose desire to volunteer in the community was a major impetus for the food drive event. “My participation at LIAF has helped me to feel like a person again!”
“Our participants have so much to give to the world and they’re not ready to sit back and let life pass them by,” Taylor Herbert, LMSW, Director of Specialized Senior Services at Sid Jacobson JCC, said. “They are extremely active in their communities, from working with therapy dogs to volunteering with UJA-Federation of New York.”
The Long Island Alzheimer’s Foundation offers supportive programming and services for people on “every step of the way” of their journey with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. Located at its headquarters in Port Washington, LIAF’s early-stage program includes cognitive training classes, creative arts activities, mentally stimulating trivia and word games, guest lectures, and support group sessions. Its adult day program caters to the needs of clients with moderate-stage dementia, and features musical activities, crafts, guest presentations, and mental and social stimulation. Both programs give caregivers much-needed time off from the day-to-day challenges of caring for a person with Alzheimer’s disease or related dementia. In addition, LIAF can provide in-home respite through its Alzheimer’s Companions program in Nassau and Queens counties. A trained respite provider offers two-hours of stimulating activity to the client at home, while the caregiver enjoys time away. For more information, call (516) 767-6856.
Located in East Hills, Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center offers a range of programs for individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease and related conditions. Its G.E.M.S. program offers socialization and stimulating programming for individuals with early memory loss. The Let’s Do Lunch Program is an innovative, multidisciplinary program specifically designed for those with young-onset dementias and the first of its kind in the country. The Friendship Circle is a social adult day program for seniors with dementia and the frail elderly. For more information, call (516) 484-1545 or visit www.sjjcc.org.
The two organizations are proud to partner with Island Harvest on this food drive, and anticipate that it will have a positive effect both on participants in their respective programs, as well as on the Long Islanders who will benefit from the food items collected. Those wishing to contribute non-perishable items to the food drive can bring them to the LIAF headquarters at 5 Channel Drive in Port Washington Monday – Friday, from 9 AM to 5 PM from June 1 – June 23 or to Sid Jacobson JCC from June 14 until July 11. For JCC hours, visit http://www.sjjcc.org.