Kate Steigman and Charlotte Kerpen, rising seniors from Schreiber High School in Port Washington started collecting food donations from people’s doorsteps to donate to local food pantries in the area amid the coronavirus pandemic.
“As soon as coronavirus hit in mid-March, I knew that I couldn’t sit by, however, I wasn’t quite sure on the best way to help my community without risking my own health,” Steigman said. “As I was talking with my mom, I realized that many people might have the same issue as me. We wanted to donate to any cause, but felt stuck, as we were confined to our house. Scrolling through Facebook, we saw a post for the food pantry located at Our Lady of Fatima Church and that’s when inspiration struck. My mom and I posted all over Instagram and Facebook, informing our friends and fellow community members that we would be collecting contributions to donate to the food pantry. Right away, we got tons of responses from people who wanted to help.”
After reaching out to the community to collect donations, Steigman’s mom received a private message from a mutual friend whose twin sons had started their own Doorstep Donations project in the Hamptons. The boys offered Steigman a spot of their team and thus the Port Washington chapter of Doorstep Donations began. Steigman immediately asked Kerpen to help her with the project, and together the two began collecting their first round of donations.
“When Doorstep Donations offered us a spot on the team, it wasn’t even a question as to whether or not we should join. Quickly after our posts on social media, tons of people reached out to help, whether that be helping us go door to door to pick up, donating themselves, or partnering with us to spread the word,” the girls stated. “We are thrilled with the abundance of support and it is really cool to see our community come together.”
Doorstep Donations Port Washington has partnered with Our Lady of Fatima Church in Manorhaven to help the pantry supply food to those in need. Since the project began, the girls have been picking up three to five bags of food per day from Port Washington community members. Through their website, doorstepdonations.com, donors are able to specify the pick-up day and time, ensuring that the nonperishable food will be ready for a contact-less pickup. So far, Steigman and Kerpen have completed three drop-offs, each consisting of a full trunk-load of boxes, bags and crates filled with nonperishable food items.
Doorstep Donations accepts any type of nonperishable food items including white rice, canned fruits/vegetables, cooking oil, canned tuna, jelly, cereal, pancake mix, oatmeal, beans, kids’ snack foods, pasta and shelf-stable milk. Community members who are looking to donate food to the cause can visit doorstepdonations.com. On the website, there is a page allotted to Port Washington where donors can fill out a form to contribute. Doorstep Donations is also accepting monetary donations, via a GoFundMe page www.gofundme.com/f/vgrzr-doorstep-donations-port-washington. The money will be used to purchase specific items of need for the pantry.
Steigman and Kerpen stated that since the inception of Doorstep Donations, the Port Washington community has been so supportive during these difficult times.
“Getting others involved was not too much of a challenge, especially as everyone is stuck at home,” Steigman said. “There is no feeling more heart-warming and special than knowing this is all being done for a good cause,” Steigman said. “We are so glad to be able to give back to our community after all it has done for us. It is so rewarding to know that one donation can be the best moment of someone’s day. We love running Doorstep Donations in Port Washington and are eager to help in any way that we can.”
Although the project originated in the Hamptons, it has been able to expand to Port Washington and Scarsdale, as more New Yorkers needs develop during this time. Doorstep Donations is still looking for more ways to expand, and is accepting any emails from people looking to form their own chapter. The team is also looking to create an anonymous way for families who don’t feel comfortable going to the food pantry to receive donations by house drop-off.
Residents who are in need of a home drop-off can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.