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Hamptons Life

Sep 22, 2009 6:44 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

New food pantry to open in Amagansett

Sep 22, 2009 6:44 PM

The East Hampton Food Pantry at Windmill Village II is opening a satellite branch at Scoville Hall in Amagansett this fall.

The project is a joint effort between staff at the food pantry and Amagansett residents Dominick Stanzione, John Kowalenko, Vicki Lipman of Vicki’s Veggies farm stand and other members of the Amagansett community.

Food pantries throughout East Hampton are still seeing record numbers of people in need of food, and the East Hampton Food Pantry last week served 120 people—up from about 50 last year, which was also a higher number than they’d experienced in recent years.

Mr. Stanzione, a financial advisor who is a Republican candidate for the East Hampton Town Board, and Mr. Kowalenko, who owns the Art of Eating catering firm, will be in charge of training volunteers for the new pantry.

Kathy Burns, who runs the East Hampton pantry, said that volunteers will pack up bags of food in East Hampton alongside volunteers from her food pantry and will bring them to Amagansett, where they will be distributed from 4 to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays. She said that she initially plans to pack between 20 and 30 bags of groceries for the Amagansett satellite branch. The arrangement will also allow the Amagansett food pantry to accept donations using the existing food pantry’s non-profit status.

The group had initially hoped to open the pantry by the second week in October, but Ms. Burns said that a mid-November start date is more realistic. She had thought of opening the food pantry in conjunction with Hunger Week, the third week in November, but decided that opening it sooner was more prudent.

“If we can get it together sooner we would like to, because we don’t want people going hungry,” she said.

Mr. Stanzione has been a supporter of the Amagansett food pantry concept since he first became involved with Help Now, a civic group formed by East Hampton attorney Leonard Ackerman in the wake of last fall’s financial sector meltdown, which briefly ran a soup kitchen at Most Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church last year.

He said that, during his work as a volunteer for the Amagansett Fire Department Ambulance Corps, he has helped many people in Amagansett and up the Napeague stretch whom he believes would benefit from having a food pantry that is both nearby and is along a regular Suffolk County bus route.

Ms. Burns’ food pantry is already struggling to pay to keep enough food on hand for people in need in East Hampton, and she said that the board of the food pantry agreed to an expansion because it was necessary and because the Amagansett organizers agreed to do enough fund-raising to make it self-supporting.

The food pantry will hold a fall festival in Amagansett on October 10 and East Hampton Town has allowed the organizers to use the hockey rink on Abraham’s Path for movie screenings on nights throughout the winter to raise more money.

“Yes, it’s a strain, but we want to feed people. Our mission is to serve East Hampton Town,” said Ms. Burns. “It’s just going to bring more awareness to people. The Springs food pantry also serves Amagansett, and it’s only going to help because it’s a strain for them, too.”

The food pantry is also planning during Hunger Week to ask shop owners throughout town to sell cardboard apples for a $1 or $5 donation to the pantry.

The apples will then be displayed on the walls of the stores. The East Hampton Pharmacy on North Main Street is also raising money and is matching donations from customers, and the food pantry is considering asking Boy and Girl Scouts to help raise money for the pantries, in addition to their usual mid-November food drive. The food pantry is also raffling off a restored 1968 Camaro.

Ms. Burns is asking prospective volunteers to call her at 324-7195 or visit the food pantry’s new website: easthamptonfoodpantry.org.

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I'm just curious... What nationality are they at this food pantry? Are they all latino? (i'm not being prejudiced-- I just want to know)
By nicole (96), Hampton Bays on Sep 26, 09 1:01 AM
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