The Harry Chapin Food Bank is named for the
man who founded Long Island Cares in 1980. He was truly an
Time dims many memories
but that of Harry seems to grow. It has been 25 years since the
entertainer-activist died in a fiery
crash on the Long Island Expressway, yet his imprint on public life is
firmer than ever, thanks to his visionary approach to life. And just
as his lifestyle revolved around helping others achieve worthy goals, now these
goals help to perpetuate the legend of Harry
Chapin regarded himself as a "troubadour," the medieval performer
whose songs spoke of love, chivalry, religion, and politics. Harry
used his gift for entertainment to promote causes that he believed in. In retrospect, his award-winning songs
and personal appearances seemed more like the means to an end. As he
himself put it, "volunteerism is a right and we volunteers are carrying out
the heritage of this country ... we all have the potential to move the world
and the world is ready to be moved."
In one of his most poignant songs, Harry wrote and sang, "Oh if a man
tried to take his time on earth and prove before he died what one man's life
could be worth, I wonder what would happen to this world."
Harry Chapin dedicated his life to that philosophy. He performed half
his concerts each year as benefits, worked tirelessly in Washington and
across the country to fight hunger, and cared deeply about people in need.
July 16, 2001 marked the twentieth anniversary of Harry's death.
Newsday published two excellent commemorative articles on this occasion: "Music
and a Message" and "Chapin's
Fight Far From Over." Two years later, Newsday ran a
follow-up story on how "Harry
Chapin's Family Continues His Social Activism."
On November 16, 2003, Harry Chapin was inducted into the
Volunteer Hall of Fame by
The Long Island Volunteer Center.
And on August 4th, 2006 the installation of
the first bench commemorating inductees into the Long Island Volunteer
Hall of Fame took place at Bethpage State Park in Farmingdale, New York.
The first person to be so honored: Harry Chapin, founder of Long Island
Cares, Inc. – The Harry Chapin Food Bank.
Another sad anniversary of Harry's passing, the thirtieth, was
commemorated during the week ending July 16, 2011, which was declared
"Legacy 30 Week." See
Long Island Cares Announced Ten Days of Events to Celebrate the Legacy of
Harry Chapin and read the two Newsday articles from that week,
Events honor Harry Chapin, 30 years later and
Singer Harry Chapin recalled as a charitable giant.
here for a capsule biography of
Harry Chapin. For more information on Harry's life, music, and
legacy, try these links:
Harry Chapin Music
The Harry Chapin