Melissa Berman, Co-Founder of East End Cares, a social media-based group connecting those who want to help others with the opportunities to do so, was full of praise for an idea from and the efforts of Leonore Weitzman of East Hampton. Berman explained, “Leonore was at Goldberg’s one day in late March and had an idea: Why couldn’t the fresh bagels that are discarded at closing time go instead to help feed local families? Goldberg’s Co-Owner Paul Wayne was immediately on board, but lamented he had no manpower to organize the effort.” Berman said at that point Lenore contacted East End Cares. “Our volunteers stepped up and did what we do,” she noted.
Soon other volunteers from East End Cares – along with Ms. Weitzman and friends from the Conservative Synagogue of the Hamptons – were picking up leftover bagels from the East Hampton and Sag Harbor Goldberg’s and delivering them directly to the food pantry at the Bridgehampton Child Care and Recreational Center (BHCCRC) on the Sag Harbor Turnpike.
Berman recounted the story of how Gloria Cannon, supervisor of The Center’s food pantry, shared, “The bagels each week from Goldberg’s – what a huge difference it makes. It’s just phenomenal. We get enough fresh bagels to feed everyone – and the volunteers who bring the deliveries are so delightful. What a wonderful collaborative effort to help our community. We are so very thankful for the generosity of Goldberg’s Bagels and the volunteers who are helping us.”
She noted reports that prior to March, the Center’s food pantry was feeding 60 individuals a month. Now it is feeding some 450 individuals per week.
Berman relayed, “This is what volunteerism and East End Cares is all about – everyone working together to make a difference. A lot of what we do encompasses projects that our volunteers come up with, and then connecting local businesses to the wonderful organizations offering direct assistance. We take care of each other….kind of like one big extended East End family.” She went on to explain the unique, special relationship many volunteers have established with those they help. “They become friends, they become close, they talk, exchange stories, it’s all so good,” Berman said.
I asked Berman why East End Cares works? She answered, “We have really wonderful caring people in our community. There are almost 300 volunteers who step up and help. What I love is lately the addition of second home owners who are staying out in the area due to the Coronavirus helping out too! There seems to be a coming together of the local volunteers and the second home owners that I believe is a positive for the whole community. There are some volunteers putting in 30 hours a week, purchasing stuff, stocking the pantry and delivering goods and helping move folks around.”
Bagels are picked up twice a week in East Hampton and three times per week in Sag Harbor to deliver to BHCCRC. The effort will soon expand to include Goldberg’s in Montauk and Napeague.
Marc Goldberg, owner of Goldberg’s Famous Bagels (and Paul Wayne’s cousin), said, “We are happy to bring some joy into people’s homes.”
East End Cares is currently looking for additional volunteers. To learn more, email [email protected].