On Friday, May 3, Zorn’s of Bethpage marked the end of an era as it closed its 80-year-old storefront and made one last food donation in preparation for the opening of the new Zorn’s directly next door. While Zorn’s will reopen and continue to make weekly food donations, after 25 years, this was the last donation from the iconic storefront.
“It was very surreal and incredibly emotional to have made that last food donation from our old store,” Merrill Zorn, the owner of Zorn’s of Bethpage, said. “We know we are going to pick up right where we left off in that effort in our new home.”
The beneficiaries of the donations made at the event included Island Harvest, Long Island’s largest hunger relief organization, and The Interfaith Nutrition Network (INN), which provides a broad variety of essential services to assist those challenged by hunger, homelessness and profound poverty. Both organizations have regularly received donations from Zorn’s over the past 15 to 25 years.
“Zorn’s was one of our first steady food donor accounts,” Randi Shubin Dresner, the president and CEO of Island Harvest, said. “It means a lot; they are a company that really cares.”
Last Friday, Island Harvest received almost a thousand pounds of food from Zorn’s.
“We got chicken, we got soups, we got cornbread, we just got everything they have,” Dresner said.
A typical donation from Zorn’s to The INN includes unprepared and prepared food that goes to the Mary Brennan INN, the largest soup kitchen on Long Island.
“Our volunteers are then able to take that food and prepare meals for 200 to 400 people each day,” Jean Kelly, executive director of The INN, said. “On Friday, the final donation of food was fresh milk and eggs, which we always need in the soup kitchen. They also donated a large amount of whole, unprepared chicken that was used to make a delicious meal the following Monday morning.”
For Merrill, the food donations have always been about giving back to the community and helping those in need.
“I love our community and I am very passionate about giving back to the community that supports us,” she said. “There is no better feeling than to know you are helping somebody in their time of need.”
Making one last donation from the original storefront brought a feeling of sentimentality to those in attendance.
“Seeing the doors close on Zorn’s iconic location and the final donation of food given out was bittersweet, as Zorn’s is a family institution and a part of the history of the community,” Dana Lopez, director of communications for The INN, said. “At the same time, we are thrilled to see that they are able to pick up where they left off right next door and start a new chapter making new memories and serving that same community in their new home.”
Shubin Dresner was also in attendance to receive the donation and celebrate the beginning of a new chapter for the relationship between Zorn’s and Island Harvest.
“To be part of their last day in that building and to be part of the new Zorn’s is very meaningful for us,” Dresner said. “Merrill is wonderful, her team is incredible, and they help us throughout the year.”
As Zorn’s moves into its new location, Merrill looks forward to picking up where they left off.
“I look forward to continuing to provide homemade food to our customers and offer more support to our community,” she said. “I am also grateful that I was able to keep all of my staff, which I consider my family.”
Both Island Harvest and The INN also look forward to a continued partnership with Zorn’s, which plans to continue its commitment to weekly food donations.
“They’re donating great food that’s helping to feed just hundreds and hundreds of people across Long Island who are food insecure or really struggling,” Dresner said. “This is important, because if it weren’t for Zorn’s and Merrill and her family who really care, there would be people who would be going without food.”
“The INN looks forward to continuing our longstanding relationship with Zorn’s because they genuinely care about helping those who are unable to help themselves,” Kelly said. “A big part of our mission is feeding those in need, and Zorn’s has the resources and the heart to help us move toward that mission. We are sure that Zorn’s will be a part of the The INN’s family for years to come.”