Blaze Church Feeds Families Via Drive-Thru

Blaze Church in Flanders distributes food during its first drive-thru pantry pickup event. Independent/All for the East End

In less than two weeks, All for the East End’s Feed the Need program has distributed nearly $200,000 in grants to East End pantries and nonprofit organizations addressing food insecurity. In addition to the $100,000 distributed to four pantries last week, another $95,000 was approved by the Grant Advisory Committee to be allocated to Blaze Church in Flanders, Community Action-Southold Town in Greenport, The East End Food Institute in East Hampton, Church of the Harvest in Riverhead, Montauk Food Pantry, and Heart of the Hamptons in Southampton.

Blaze Church in Flanders held its first weekly drive-through pantry last week. Pastor Keith Indovino said 325 people received 200 bags of groceries in the first 35 minutes.

“It was a huge success,” Indovino said. “Unfortunately, we had to turn away 175 people. Our goal is to hold the drive-through the next three Thursdays at 1 PM, and to be able to feed more people each week. For us, it’s one of the basic principles, ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself’ and ‘feed the hungry.’ The AFTEE grant is critical to our ability to buy enough food to feed everyone who needs it.”

AFTEE is a nonprofit organization founded in 2012. Its grant advisory committee, working with the Long Island Community Foundation, meets and reviews grants weekly. Donations continue to come in, and can be made online at www.aftee.org, and nonprofit organizations can also submit grant requests. For more information, email [email protected]

“It is inspiring to see the relentless work of these organizations as they strive to make sure our friends and neighbors can continue to feed their families,” AFTEE board president Claudia Pilato said. “The outpouring of generosity from both large and small donors has allowed AFTEE to distribute the funds where they are most needed. We have to keep in mind that this is not a one-shot-and-out deal. We are in this for the long term. The problems we are dealing with today will continue for many months, even years.”

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