One of the devastating results of the COVID-19 pandemic has been an unimaginable rise in food insecurity across the nation. Across the East End, food pantries have truly stepped up to meet the unprecedented demand – and now there’s a duo of new little free pantries to provide additional assistance.
The Common Good Committee at St. Rosalie’s Church, led by Bonnie Doyle and Councilman Rick Martel, spearheaded the installation of the little free pantry at the entrance of Good Ground Park in Hampton Bays, next to the Southampton CPF office.
“COVID-19 was a challenging time for this community and I am glad to see that people came together to provide food now and in the future to those who need help the most,” said Councilman Martel. “It was great to work with the Common Good Committee of St. Rosalie’s, Brian Kennedy and the Hampton Bays Rotary on this project to make sure we keep fighting against food insecurity here on the East End.”
Most East End food pantries are only open one or two days a week. Through the Hampton Bays little free pantry, the group hopes to provide a source of food when the pantries are not operational.
A number of community members and organizations banded together to bring the project to fruition. Local churches, including the Assembly of God Church and St. Rosalie’s, stepped in to stock the pantry. Brian Kennedy not only volunteered to construct the pantry, but also provided the materials. To ensure that there’s always food when the community needs it, the Hampton Bays Rotary has applied for a grant.
Additionally, the Southampton Youth Board, which is appointed by the Southampton Town Board, set up a little food pantry at the David Crohan Community Center (655 Flanders Road, Flanders). Each year, the Youth Board works on a number of projects to better the community, and after realizing that many within the Town were struggling with food insecurity, the group set out to help.
“Food insecurity, which is an issue for many in our Town, was heightened during the pandemic,” stated Councilwoman Julie Lofstad, liaison to the Southampton Youth Bureau. “Many people who are using food pantries today never thought they would need help. I’m very proud of our Youth Board, who saw a need in our community and did something about it.”
The little food pantry is conveniently located right off the David Crohan Community Center’s parking lot, making it easily accessible to all that need it. The Youth Board hopes to establish additional little free food pantries within the Town.
“The great thing about these pantries is that food can be picked up as needed, and donated to as community members are able,” said Nancy Lynott, Director of Southampton Youth Bureau. “This keeps the box supplied with nutritious food and the entire community can become involved in supporting their neighbors in times of need.”
Donations of healthy, non-perishable food items may be donated at any time.