Bridgehampton, New York (April 27). Food Pantries on the East End of Long Island are beginning to receive critical funding from AFTEE’S “Feed the Need” Campaign, created to address food instability and other emerging needs resulting from the pandemic. Pantries and other non-profits addressing these issues can apply for a grant at aftee.org
PANTRIES FEEL THE PRESSURE TO PROVIDE
“There is an incredible need,” said Hilton Crosby, Executive Director of Southampton’s “Heart of the Hamptons”. “We provided 7331 meals in the month of January, before the Pandemic. Last week, 7370 meals in grocery product went in two hours! It’s staggering! Just coordinating volunteers and packing grocery bags has been challenging. Local contractor, Peter Cardel of “Cardel Development” has offered to donate and build a motorized conveyor belt that can help us bring our operation up to scale. The spirit of the community is amazing!”
“Before the Pandemic, we fed 65 families at our weekly pantry events,” said Springs Pantry Chairperson Holly Wheaton. “But last week we served 190 families! It’s very humbling, just surreal, but I have to say it’s remarkable to see the community coming together from all walks of life. People who were helping us before the Pandemic, now need help. I don’t think the numbers are going to go down,” said Wheaton.
DEMAND GROWS EACH WEEK
Some pantries have seen an exploding demand. Vicki Littman, the Chairperson of the East Hampton Food Pantry says, “By this time of the year we would normally see it slowing down as seasonal workers would be going back to work. But the need keeps growing. During the first two weeks of April we fed 1039 individuals. Last week alone, we fed 321 families and feeding families means more bags of groceries. They are so grateful, they call us their food pantry family. People who were our donors, are now clients. We’re going to get through this together. Nothing wrong with asking for help,” she says. Littman shared a text she received from one client, “The graciousness and respect demonstrated by the entire staff is truly stunning. Everyone is made to feel welcome. Thank you for all you do, East Hampton Food Pantry.”
Some pantries have seen an exploding demand. Vicki Littman, the Chairperson of the East Hampton Food Pantry says, “By this time last year we fed 1039 individuals in the first quarter of the year, and it would be slowing down now, because the seasonal workers would be going back to work. Last week alone, we fed 604 people. They are so grateful, they call us their food pantry family. People who were our donors, are now clients. We’re going to get through this together. Nothing wrong with asking for help,” she says. Littman shared a text she received from one client, “The graciousness and respect demonstrated by the entire staff is truly stunning. Everyone is made to feel welcome. Thank you for all you do, East Hampton Food Pantry.”
FRONT LINE RELIEF
The Town of Southold was the first Town in Suffolk County to see the need on the front lines with the first COVID 19 cases in the County. Cathy Demeroto, the Executive Director of CAST, Community Action of Southold Town, says, “We have a line wrapped around the corner. We were spending about $1,200 a week before the Pandemic, now we are spending $ 7,000. a week and it’s getting worse. We have seen people pass away, this virus is scaring everyone. I’m worried about my volunteers. Those who are quarantined at home, we drop off a cooler of food to their doorstep.”
CHOICE BETWEEN FOOD AND RENT
One of those seeking help from CAST is a 19 year old High School senior at Southold High School, who is hoping to graduate this year. For her privacy, we won’t reveal her name. She’s been living on her own, her father lives in Connecticut and her mother live in Guatemala. She was learning how to cook in a program at CAST while working as a bus person in a Greenport restaurant. But she lost her job because of the Pandemic, and she had to make a choice between paying rent and buying food. “The Pantry people are very nice to me, she says, I wish I could give them something in return.”
Pantries and other non- profit organizations addressing food insecurity should visit the www.aftee,org and fill out a grant application.
For more information or to make a donation visit www.aftee.org or firstname.lastname@example.org