Singer, songwriter and social activist Jen Chapin was one of the featured speakers at Long Island Cares' 4th Annual Government Affairs Breakfast on Friday, December 2, 2011. More than 70 invited guests including two dozen local, state and federal legislators gathered in the warehouse of The Harry Chapin Food Bank to hear Jen Chapin talk about growing up in the hunger movement and being inspired by her parents, Sandy and Harry Chapin. Jen recently delivered the keynote address at the Western Regional Association Conference of Feeding America member agencies in Arizona. She used her visit to Long Island Cares to also discuss her involvement in a new movement she is championing called "Nourish America." The movement challenges food banks to transform the food system by shifting their food sourcing away from industrial donations towards a more healthy balance of more fresh, local and nutritious options. Chapin also performed three songs inspired by her meeting many people impacted by hunger and her work as a Board member of WHY Hunger (formerly World Hunger Year) the global organization founded by her father in the 1970s before he established Long Island Cares, Inc.
New York State Senator Jack Martins and Suffolk County Legislator Steve Stern offered welcoming remarks to those in attendance, while Congressman Tim Bishop sent welcoming remarks via a special videotaped segment. Michael Haynes, Coordinator of Government Affairs and Public Policy and Executive Director Paule Pachter also spoke about the challenges facing food banks across the country who are trying to provide more services to a growing population in need in a climate where government funds are being reduced significantly.
Among the many legislators in attendance were: Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker; Assemblyman Michael Fitzpatrick; Suffolk County Legislator and Presiding Officer William Lindsay; Assemblyman Ed Ra; Assemblyman Al Graf; Nassau Legislator Wayne Wink, and Assemblyman Bran Curran. In addition, legislative staff representing N.C. Legislator Dave Denenberg, NYS Senator John Flanagan, NYS Senator Kemp Hannon, S.C. Legislator Lynn Nowick, NYS Senator Owen Johnson, Congresswoman Carolyn McCarthy, N.C. Legislator Joseph Scannell, NYS Senator Charles Fuschillo, NYS Senator Dean Skelos, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano, and Governor Andrew Cuomo were in attendance to participate in the dialogue as well.