Neighbors In Need - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 1808004

Neighbors In Need

Last week, the Southampton Village Board meeting discussion concerning Heart of the Hamptons’ new location left me feeling very disheartened.

At the meeting, a group of residents spoke about their opposition to the food pantry moving into their neighborhood through self-interested, “not in my backyard”-type speeches. One irate woman addressed the Village Board by asking, “What is Southampton getting out of this (lease)?” Then replied, “Nothing.”

These types of comments were frustrating to listen to, because I believe that compassionately helping neighbors in need is certainly not “nothing.”

Heart of the Hamptons currently has approximately 4,000 Southampton Town residents on its registry; 2,600 of these residents live within the Southampton and Tuckahoe school districts, and 950 of them are currently living within Southampton Village.

As the cost of living continues to rise in our community, these families rely on Heart of the Hamptons’ food, clothing and assistance services as a lifeline. Southampton is not just a resort town for the rich and second-home owners. Roughly 48 percent of students in the Southampton School District and 66 percent of students in the Tuckahoe School District are living in poverty.

Guess who is there for these students? Heart of the Hamptons is currently running its annual Lunchbox Kids and Backpack Kids programs, where they provide local students with food, back-to-school supplies and other necessities that no child should ever be without.

Heart of the Hamptons has operated within a residential area of Southampton Village without any negative incidents or distractions to its neighbors for 40 years. It has always operated in a dignified manner, and I am beyond confident that it will continue to be a good neighbor in its new location.

As board president, I encourage this opposing group to reach out to us if they have any questions about our operation.

Right now, a move to a new space is a necessity. Without this new space, Heart of the Hamptons will be in serious jeopardy of not being able to provide services to our community. This is a scary thought, considering how vital Heart of the Hamptons has been to so many households during the pandemic.

The Southampton Village Board recognized this need, and I am grateful to its members for helping us find a home. Now, as Heart of the Hamptons approaches the finish line of making this move a reality, I trust that the board will do the right thing and continue its support of this great organization.

Nick Epley


Board of Directors

Heart of the Hamptons

Southampton Village