Prior to the COVID-19 outbreak, Springs Food Pantry served roughly 75 households, 275 people, on a weekly basis. On April 29, that number read 208 households and 717 individuals.
“We feel we are doing an enormous service in a very trying time. Knowing that makes us want to do more,” said Anne McCann of Springs Food Pantry. Each family is provided with three meals for three days, per person, relieving a burden on those with food insecurities. Fresh milk, eggs, yogurt, cereal, fresh fruit and produce, meat, rice, pasta, beans, bread, and a variety of lunch items are packed in a standard bag.
While demand at local food pantries is up 250 percent, that hasn’t slowed down philanthropic efforts. Since 1992, The Clamshell Foundation has been supporting local endeavors, with 100 percent of all profits going directly back into the East End community.
The foundation’s president, Kori Peters and Melissa Berman, co-founder of East End Cares, have partnered together to help each other during this trying time. East End Cares is a community collaboration in support of the East End.
“Both groups were ramping up to help during the crisis,” said Berman. On March 25, the two organizations launched a $5 for Food Campaign with all of the proceeds going to the Montauk, East Hampton, Springs, and Sag Harbor Food Pantries. “The effort is a natural extension of both organizations’ community initiatives and has proven to be a partnership filled with positive energy and results that have consistently exceeded the fundraising goals.”
Within a month’s time, the campaign raised over $40,000, a number that continues to grow, putting produce in the hands of those who need it most. The number of volunteers at the Montauk Food Pantry distributing food has been trimmed from an average of 32 to 20, to comply with social distancing rules. But thanks to giveback efforts, such as the $5 for Food Campaign, their spirits remain lifted. “Morale amongst volunteers has been cheerful and positive since the pandemic began. The atmosphere while working together is filled with a sense of unity and duty in order to get the job done for the benefit of others,” said Alice Houseknecht of Montauk Food Pantry.
As New York state begins to reopen, demand is expected to decline. Yet, as individuals and families struggle to catch up on bills, that forecast is strictly speculation. For now, volunteers are finding comfort in helping others, bringing a communal sense of purpose.
The Clamshell Foundation has also partnered up with QuincyMTK, Citarella, Nancy Atlas, and Heather King Photography to raise donations. Donations are being taken at every checkout register at the Citarella stores in Bridgehampton and East Hampton where customers can donate an amount of their choosing or simply round up their purchase. To donate or learn about the ways you can help, visit www.clamshellfoundation.org.