High school student Fainne Sheehan of Westhampton Beach wanted to establish a place where those in need could procure provisions even before the Coronavirus pandemic because she had come across an article about successful East End Little Free Pantries. “It has become really important, because there is a great need for food. That is the reason I followed through on creating ‘A Little Free Pantry’ for the general Westhampton Beach area,” Sheehan told us about the area’s newest Little Free Pantry.
An official opening was held on Thursday, July 17 at 5:15 p.m. The Westhampton Beach Little Food Pantry is located on Mill Road, next to the Westhampton Historical Society. Sheehan, along with classmate Alie Fitt, started the process of creating the pantry prior to COVID-19. After many emails, phone calls and Village of Westhampton Beach meetings, they were approved, with the Kiwanis Club of Greater Westhampton as their sponsor. Now folks are free to donate and use the pantry as needed.
Sheehan and Fitt had been collecting cans at the concerts for the elementary school. “We did a fundraiser and collected food for the local food pantries, but realized the problem being the local food pantries were only open a few days a week. Our pantry will be open every day of the week, 24 hours a day – whenever you need it,” Sheehan said. “My parents and Alie’s parents have helped along the way, too.”
Listening to Sheehan talk about her commitment to her community was very inspiring. She and her friends are what’s best about the future of the East End of Long Island. Young people who believe in the community and making the effort to assist their community. Sheehan stressed, “Please do not bring outdated cans and product to the pantry. We need non-perishable foods and schools supplies, too.” She was very proud of the wooden pantry they helped create that will store the food and never be locked. It looks like a larger version of those Little Free Library boxes, only slightly larger.
“We are excited and very proud of our community’s response to our project,” she said. She hopes the pantry will grow and last and will be successful for a long, long time.
Sheehan expressed, “I would like to thank the Westhampton Beach Village Mayor and Board of Trustees for allowing us to put the pantry up, Kiwanis of Greater Westhampton for their sponsorship, LaFata + Lumber Construction for building the pantry, Sheehan Landscaping for installing the unit, Sophie Cline for her wonderful artwork, and Eleanor Kobel, Micheal Daly, and Penny Rudder for their support along the way.”