Many have already been busy stocking cupboards while self-quarantining amid the COVID-19 pandemic. While preparing for however long the novel coronavirus keeps us inside our homes, let’s not forget that many community members are financially unable to prepare their pantries with anything beyond their immediate needs, if that. Some rely on our local food pantries and other food assistance programs, which need help during this trying time.
Bank of America has enabled Long Island Cares to open a new distribution center in Hampton Bays.
“I’m very thankful for the generous support,” said Paule Pachter, CEO of Long Island Cares. “The ability for our organization to assist residents on the East End who have been impacted by COVID-19, and subsequent job losses is clearly enhanced at this time. Also, with the opening of our East End warehouse, it will be easier for our member agencies on both the South and North Fork to access emergency food that’s closer to their locations.”
The new center, called Hunger Assistance and Humanitarian Center of the Hamptons, brings together all available resources for the benefit of the hungry and food insecure on Long Island. It is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9 AM to 3 PM, and Tuesday and Thursday from 9 AM to 4:30 PM.
Clients are welcomed once per month, and veterans once per week, on Tuesdays. Call 631-613-3344 with any questions, and to donate, visit www.licares.org.
“As the world is faced with uncertainty, it is crucial that we come together as people to support one another, to spread hope, and to stay strong for one another,” Long Island Cares said in a Facebook post. “We are Long Island. We are strong. We will get through this.”
The Heart of the Hamptons food pantry in Southampton Village is open Wednesdays, from 10 AM to noon. Non-perishables, produce, and frozen meat will be distributed to clients in pre-packed bags outside the organization’s Hill Street building. Call 631-283-6415 and leave a message with your name and phone number to set up help for someone in need. Messages will be checked periodically.
“We continue to order and receive larger quantities of food than usual from our loyal partners,” read a Facebook statement. Hapco Farms, LLC, Astor Distributors Inc., and Long Island Cares all contribute to the Southampton pantry. “We appreciate all of the offers for food donations, however, we are only going to accept food from our distributors for as long as we can afford to do so in the interest of public safety. We cannot thank you enough for your support during this challenging time. We continue to witness the beauty of community and the strong impact we can make together.”
The East Hampton Food Pantry is safeguarding senior clients by asking if they can arrive at 1 PM, if possible. Delivery can be arranged if seniors are unable to visit to the food pantry by calling 631-324-2300. The pantry is open from 1 to 6 PM every other Tuesday, including April 7 and 21.
“We are in dire need of monetary donations in order for the food pantry to continue to serve our clients, due to the increased demand of the food pantry,” the organization said in a Facebook statement. “We will continue to feed those in need throughout this difficult time, as long as we have food.”
John Kowalenko, co-owner of Art of Eating, needed help getting pallets of food from Island Harvest in Hauppauge to The East Hampton Food pantry. Kowalenko, a board member, called his friend Michael Derrig, founder of Landscape Details in East Hampton, because he knew the firm had a large fleet of trucks. He said he figured some box trucks could be repurposed as food delivery vehicles.
“I knew if I called Michael Derrig he’d come through for me,” Kowalenko said. “He and the firm have always been incredibly generous with our community.”
Right now, according to Kowalenko, the need for food on the East End is growing faster than they can keep up with. On Tuesday, a truck helped picked up three pallets of food that will help feed the more than 20,000 children, elderly, and family members who rely upon this resource.
“We’re always glad to help out,” Derrig said. “Now more than ever, our community has to stick together, even if we’re social distancing.”
The pantry serves Montauk, Amagansett, Springs, East Hampton, Springs, and Wainscott residents. Service will continue every other Tuesday until further notice. Emergencies will be accommodated on Mondays and Tuesdays, but residents are asked to phone ahead if possible.
East Hampton Meals on Wheels can be reached at 631-329-1669 for information on its programs. The assistance program cannot accept food donations due to restrictions by the New York State Department of Health.
The organization said on Facebook the IGAs in East Hampton and Montauk are supporting it for the month of March. If stopping by either of the stores, patrons can purchase a “wheel” to support Meals on Wheels.
“Our priority is to keep our clients and volunteers healthy,” reads a statement on its website. “We have taken all necessary precautions and are following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and New York State Department of Health recommendations for everyday preventative actions that can help stop the spread of the flu and coronavirus. We have also taken on new clients due to the closure of the East Hampton Senior Center. If you would like to help, please consider making a donation or volunteering. Thank you for your continued support.”
For more information, visit www.ehmealsonwheels.org.
Desirée Keegan contributed reporting