AFTEE

Author Archives: Jason Reis

  1. AFTEE BEGINS TO “FEED THE NEED”

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    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 info@aftee.org

  2. East End Mobilizes to Address Food Insecurity

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    “Feed the Need” Appeal Launched to Support Local Food Pantries

    Citing a rapidly growing economic crisis related to the Covid-19 pandemic, community leaders are banding together to raise funds to address food insecurity on the East End.  A coalition of food pantry directors has joined with local elected officials, clergy and business leaders to launch a broad appeal for donations to food distribution agencies who are already seeing a rapid increase in the number of individuals seeking assistance. The group has named the campaign “Feed the Need”.  All donations are tax deductible and go directly to local food pantries according to need.

    The idea originated when Bridgehampton resident Dan Shedrick reached out to Southampton Supervisor Jay Schneiderman with a question about how to help the local workforce cope with the economic crisis.  “There is a humanitarian crisis,’ said Mr. Shedrick.  “75% of working Americans have been financially hurt during this pandemic.  People want to help, but they don’t know how best to help.”  The fundamental problem, according to Schneiderman, is that workforce of “The Hamptons” is spread throughout the east end region.  “If our goal is to help the local workforce, we need to think regionally,” said Schneiderman, “we need an East End fundraising appeal.”  Schneiderman reached out to other community leaders to get the ball rolling.

    State Assemblyman Fred Thiele was one of the first on board and suggested using an existing not-for-profit foundation headed by Claudia Pilato, called “All for The East End” (AFTEE), as an umbrella agency to direct funds to the local level.  AFTEE, founded in 2013 to increase funding resources to the nonprofits of the east end, was a perfect vehicle to launch the Feed the Need campaign. Hilton Crosby, director of Heart of the Hamptons, the largest food pantry in Southampton Town, joined their efforts and work began in earnest on the “Feed the Need” Campaign.

    The team is assembling a board of directors consisting of local clergy, advocates of minority populations, industry leaders from agriculture and fishing, and philanthropists.  An advisory committee of food pantry representatives will help guide the group’s relief efforts.  Fundraising targets are being set and a large-scale marketing plan is being developed.

    Through the organization, donors can link directly and donate to specific food pantries or donate through AFTEE selecting either:   All East End, South Fork or North Fork.

    “Feed the Need expects to raise significant funds to support the escalating needs of our food pantries to alleviate food insecurity in our local community,” said AFTEE Founder and President Claudia Pilato, “The goal is to quickly and efficiently get money where it is needed most.”

    “During this coronavirus crisis, we are seeing more and more families turning to food pantries for assistance,” said Hilton Crosby, “We are so busy distributing food that it will be helpful to have a fundraising arm like ‘Feed The Need’ to help generate funds to expand our operations.”  Heart of the Hamptons is struggling working out of the basement of a church but is looking to expand into a more permanent ground level facility.

    State Assemblyman Fred Thiele stated, “Food insecurity is one of our biggest concerns as we continue to experience economic disruption on the East End due to COVID-19. The impact to our service industries is particularly severe. The Feed the Need campaign marshals the resources of both our seasonal and year round community to insure no person goes hungry. We are all in this together. Together we can help our food pantries do what they could not do individually.”