On Saturday, Feb. 25, Port Cares, a coalition of local organizations, got together to host a food and paper pantry drive hosted at the Port Washington Stop & Shop. Members of the Port community were asked to donate various non-perishable food items and home staples to be sorted and given to multiple food pantries and a paper pantry.
Participating organizations include the Kiwanis Club of Manhasset and Port Washington, Project H.E.L.P. Long Island, Port Lions, Knights of Columbus, the VFW (Veterans of Foreign Wars), the Masonic Lodge and Sons of Italy.
Three food pantries and one paper pantry in Port received all of the goods collected by the organizations. The food pantries are Our Lady Fatima, St. Peter’s of Alacantara and the Littig House. The paper pantry is at the Lutheran Church of Our Savior.
Jeff Stone, President of Project H.E.L.P Long Island and a member of the Kiwanis Club of Manhasset and Port Washington, worked to organize the food and paper pantry drive alongside the various participating pantries and local organizations.
“If we are to call ourselves a community, then we need to act like a community,” said Stone. “So we did this because instead of having one organization do an event in town, I thought it’d be better to get a bunch of service organizations together.”
Fifty large and medium-sized banker boxes full of food were delivered to the three food pantries and 20 canvas bags of various household items were delivered to the paper pantry. The Port Washington Fire Department lent a truck to the organizations to make the drop-offs across Port.
In addition to the non-perishable food, personal hygiene products, and other household items, people donated money for the pantries.
“We’ve collected close to $900 which we will use to buy gift cards for the food pantries and give cash to the paper pantry,” said Stone. “The pantries have told us they need monetary donations as well. For the paper pantry, they use the money to buy necessary items such as laundry detergent, which is a popular item they have stocked recently.”
With prices constantly on the rise, Stone and the other organizations were worried they wouldn’t receive as many donations as they did last year. Luckily, the food and paper drive was a success.
“We have a pretty generous town and they understand that there are people in need,” said Stone.
The Kiwanis Club of Manhasset and Port Washington, Project H.E.L.P. Long Island and the other participating locations are planning the next food and paper drives for June and September. After Stone talked with representatives from the three food pantries and one paper pantry about what items should be listed for donation, they also decided what times of the year are best to host these events.
“We’re not the only ones that do this, but we felt the need to host this drive to bring awareness to the food insecurities that residents in the town have, and also to create awareness for what our mission is,” said Stone. “It takes a community to help a community.”