A Safety Net - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1807944

A Safety Net

In September 2020, the Southampton Village Board voted unanimously to authorize a lease agreement for Heart of the Hamptons to occupy 44 Meetinghouse Lane [“McLoughlin And Arresta Begin Terms On Southampton Village Board; Lease Of Ambulance Barn To Heart Of Hamptons Approved,” 27east.com, September 23, 2020]. Thank you to Mayor Jesse Warren and all of the trustees!

At the Village Board meeting on Thursday night, a group of property owners continued their fight against Heart of the Hamptons’ right to operate in the old Southampton Village ambulance barn. Residents claim they didn’t have notice of the votes on the original lease and right to operate there — yet those same neighbors were speaking at meetings and writing letters against this a year ago.

If you saw it or watched the video, you will likely be saddened. Many of the comments I won’t repeat. But this one particularly struck me: “Heart of the Hamptons, it serves who? I don’t know. I can’t think of anyone who would be in such an unfortunate situation to need a food pantry.”

As a lifelong resident of Southampton, I know this is not always an easy place to live. Cost of living is very high, which seems to mean emotions run high no matter how much you have.

But for year-round working people, it can be daunting and scary. Jobs don’t always pay enough to build a decent life, or work is seasonal. Rental apartments are hard to come by, and public transportation can be difficult to access.

But the thing that makes this a wonderful community to raise a family and live out your life is that we care for one another. When someone is sick, passes away, is aging or is facing any need, there is a safety net here. No one is ever overlooked or left to fend for themselves.

The mission of Heart of the Hamptons is to help people in our local community who are in need, without discrimination, in a dignified manner. We provide not only food when needed but also emergency funding for rental assistance, utilities, gasoline, help for seniors and the homebound, and clothing and school supplies for children.

Heart of the Hamptons has 4,000 registered clients that visit us often or seldom. Nearly a quarter of our customers live within the bounds of Southampton Village. Southampton Elementary School has been designated a “high poverty school” by the USDA.

Just because you choose to not see people in need doesn’t mean they don’t exist.

Molly Bishop

Executive Director

Heart of the Hamptons

Southampton Village