This year our readers helped us raise a total of $2,315 through our Holiday Greeting Fund in support of the Chestene M. Coverdale Sayville Food Pantry. Earlier this week, we presented the pantry with the check.
“We would like to thank the community for their generosity and support this year as we beat last year’s contributions by a total of $715,” said Suffolk County News publisher Terry Tuthill. “We are so happy to be able to give money to such a worthy local cause, especially during the pandemic, combined with this time of year when their donations are a lot lower than during the holiday season.”
The Greater Sayville Food Pantry, serving out of the Gillette House in Sayville, has been occupying that space for the last 30 years. Throughout the year, the pantry serves individuals and families including the working poor and homeless from nearby South Shore areas, among them Sayville, West Sayville, Bayport, Oakdale, Bohemia and Blue Point.
The pantry also helps in any way they can by soliciting donations for items and money for things beyond food in emergency situations, like bills for utilities, rent, or for baby car seats and school supplies.
When the COVID lockdowns began, Islip Town allowed the pantry to stay in the Gillette House. As of now, they remain the sole occupants of their side of the building, which has enabled volunteers to use the entire area for storage and packing.
Since the pandemic hit, numbers have increased dramatically. Volunteers explained that the pantry has served about 500 people in the month of November alone. Currently, the pantry is in need of items like pasta, tomato sauce and microwaveable items like soup and canned chili.
“Our number of recipients has increased since mid-summer, especially families,” said coordinator Charlene Lehmann. “Our number of donors has increase also. We have met the most compassionate and wonderful people since March. They have enabled us to meet the needs of everyone who comes to us seeking help, whether it be food or help with bills or a gasoline gift card.”
The check, volunteers said, should help cover supplies/expenses for the winter months, including regular donations from om Long Island Cares, individuals, churches, schools and businesses and depending on the needs of recipients.
“Once again, we thank The Suffolk County News and all those who so generously gave to the Holiday Greeting Fund,” added coordinator Lehmann. “The compassion, generosity and selflessness of our extended community has been overwhelming.”