Department of Corrections and Community Supervision

New York State
Department of Correctional Services
Glenn S. Goord, Commissioner

Office of Public Information
[518] 457-8182

For immediate release:

Wednesday November 24, 1999

Needy New Yorkers getting a helping hand this holiday season

The Department of Correctional Services has joined forces with dozens of community-based agencies to ensure that needy New Yorkers and their families don't go hungry this holiday season.

Inmates at Arthur Kill Correctional Facility in Staten Island this week sorted through more than 54,000 pounds of donated Maine red potatoes for distribution to the hungry and needy in New York City. The spuds have been repackaged in 50-pound bags and shipped to various area food pantries, churches, soup kitchens, shelters, hospitals, rehabilitation centers and other community agencies. The potatoes will be used to supplement hardy Thanksgiving Day meals that will be offered free of charge tomorrow for the needy throughout New York City. Community volunteers also will be delivering some of the potatoes to those hungry and needy individuals who are homebound.

Last week, a Maine farmer donated the 27-plus tons of red potatoes to the ComLinks Gleaning Program in Franklin County, which abuts the Canadian border. The not-for-profit agency helps ensure that donated food products from farmers and others are distributed to needy individuals through New York state. The potatoes were packaged in large wooden crates and then transported by tractor trailer to the Arthur Kill prison for sorting and repackaging by prison inmates. Inmates at the five other state prisons in New York City - the Edgecombe, Lincoln, Bayview, Fulton and Queensboro correctional facilities - also helped deliver the potatoes to community-based agencies for disbursement to the needy.

"This is a prime example of the good that can be accomplished when the public and private sectors join forces," said Governor George E. Pataki. "Officials with the Department of Correctional Services, the ComLinks Gleaning Program and those community-based agencies that are distributing these potatoes are to be commended for working together to help the needy this holiday season."

Dozens of organizations are assisting in the distribution of the potatoes to the needy, including Hale House in Manhattan, the Community Baptist Church in Astoria, Queens, the Upper Manhattan Medical Center and the Addicts Rehabilitation Medical Center in Harlem.

"As a result of this cooperative venture and the dedicated and selfless efforts of a multitude of community-based agencies, needy New York City residents are receiving nutritious food for themselves and their families this holiday season," said DOCS Commissioner Glenn S. Goord. "This Department has always strived to be a good neighbor in those communities where our facilities are located and we will continue to do all we can to provide those New Yorkers in need with assistance in the future."