NoFo Community Cares: A Grassroots Group Helps a Community in Need

Photo: marctran/123rf

NoFo Community Cares is a new grassroots movement founded by Duncan Kennedy to help those in need on the North Fork. Kennedy, who is the owner and operator of the Duncan Inn and an active member of the community, started NoFo Community Cares in conjunction with other area organizations and businesses like the Butterfly Project, the Open Arms Food Pantry and the First Baptist Church of Riverhead, as well as Montauk Iced Tea, to provide practical aid in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic.

“The community has been amazing,” Kennedy says. “It really all started with a Facebook post from Melissa Caggiano of the Jamesport Farm Brewery, who posted that people should get in contact if they were hungry because [the brewery] had plenty to share. It resonated with me, because there are lots of people that are going to go hungry. We decided to do something about it.” Kennedy then set up the NoFo Community Cares group on Facebook and organized non-perishable food drives at the Brewery. “Then we realized we could partner with other organizations, and now we’re doing it four days a week in several locations,” he explains.

The North Fork is a tight-knit community, but as the area is a destination filled with wineries and small boutique businesses, there are many service workers living there, leading to many people in need. “It runs the gamut, unfortunately,” Kennedy says of the people most affected by the quarantine. “There are people whose employers didn’t pay them on the books. People in small businesses are struggling. Everybody’s at home and there is a lot of food being eaten. We have a Latin population that needs assistance. But looking at the demographics, it’s all cultures.”

Kennedy is amazed, but not surprised, at the outpouring of support the group has gotten. “It’s of no surprise to me that the community would pivot and immediately give to charity. It’s a natural for us.”

For the full schedule of pick-ups and deliveries, visit NoFo Community Cares on Facebook. 

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