On Thursday night, November 3, at the Harbor Club in Huntington, a gathering of some of the most giving individuals and business owners occurred. These special people were honored by Island Harvest Food Bank, an organization they help support, who supports Long Islanders who do not have enough food to eat. I was honored, too. I was asked to design a table setting for this auspicious event to commemorate a modern day Thanksgiving.
My staff, always busy, but always ready to take on something worthwhile, supported the idea, and brainstorming, we set a table in our Art Gallery, Studio 455, to simulate the table at the Harbor Club. I then enlisted willing and oh so talented “St. Jamesers” to help me create a table setting that was not only meaningful, but beautiful and delicious!
Our theme was “sunflowers”, the beautiful fall flower whose name comes from the sun, its warmth permeating and nurturing, giving life and strength – a perfect symbol of the giving of those who help sustain and nurture the less fortunate. I turned to our amazing art gallery curator, Arline Goldstein, consummate artist, for her rendition of our theme, as well as Florie Robinson of Florie’s Finales to provide delicious sunflower cookies. My neighbor, Debbie Powers, of Hither Brook Floral and Gift Boutique was my “go-to gal” for a centerpiece that would “wow”, and the folks at Pier 1 were most kind and generous in donating all of the beautiful table top accessories that I so enjoyed choosing.
My dear Sheila, Office Manager and all around “can do anything” person, helped do everything! (including creating the holiday message and credits on custom designed sunflower note paper). The day arrived and Sheila and I set off to set up, laden with all our special gifts created by such talented people for this Thanksgiving appreciation dinner. It was exciting and heartwarming to be a part of something so important and sadly, so necessary.
Did you know “that over 300,000 Long Islanders are at risk of hunger, 110,000 of them are children? Island Harvest distributes food to more than 570+ food pantries, soup kitchens, and other local feeding programs throughout Long Island. Since 1992 we have distributed over 90 million pounds of food, supplementing more than 75 million meals.” Our Long Island, the place we call home, where our families will be gathering to enjoy a hearty Thanksgiving dinner, has children who are sustained mainly by school breakfasts and lunches supplied by Island Harvest. Families who are struggling every day and veterans and seniors in need depend on the refrigerated truck deliveries of food daily and the food pantries supported by businesses, farms and individuals service over 316,000 people in need.
Clearly each and every one of us can help. From now until the end of December, both our locations in St. James, Uniquely Natalie at 176 Second Street and Natalie Weinstein Design Associates at 459 Lake Avenue will be “drop off” places for any canned or packaged foods (or checks) you might wish to donate to Island Harvest. You might also want to volunteer to help, along with your family, as your way of showing how thankful you are for your blessings. We often forget how much we all have for which to be thankful. In this scary world in which we live, our family, friends, neighbors and community are blessings we can never take for granted.
So from my family and staff – to all of you – may your holiday be ever more special by giving to others.