Food insecurity has become part of the new vernacular, First Congregational Church of Bay Shore Rev. Anthony Vito Colangelo, said.
“It’s so unfortunate, and it’s compiled because of the virus and other things going on in our world,” Colangelo said. “I can see the effects it has on young people.”
Luckily, individuals in need can turn to the church food pantry, which recently received financial support from the Bay Shore Lions Club and Bay Shore Classroom Teachers’ Association.
On Saturday, March 20, the Lions Club and BSCTA presented checks totaling $2,250 to Colangelo and church community outreach director, Lety Anez. Suffolk County Legis. Steve Flotteron and Islip Town councilman John Cochrane also offered a citation and proclamation to recognize the effort.
Food insecurity is a “persistent problem” in Bay Shore, Colangelo said in a press release.
“[It] threatens the well-being of many Bay Shore children, youth and families,” he said. “We share a common vision to address this issue. The bottom line is that you are helping us help many people who are hungry. It’s practical, grassroots compassion in action.”
The church began its food pantry with a free lunch option for students in pre-K through fifth grade. Increased demand has recently expanded services to local families.
Four carloads of food donations were also collected from seven schools represented by the teachers’ association. BSCTA president Mike Krieger said that the teachers’ group is “so proud of the way our students and teachers have stepped up and for their enthusiastic response to the call for food and funds for this new food pantry.”
Lions Club president Fran Beringer said for the past seven years, the Lions have supported five local food pantries, each with a $2,000 contribution annually.
“We recognize the additional hardship that has come with the COVID-19 pandemic and are pleased to extend our outreach and welcome the BSFCC to our fold,” Beringer said.
To date, nearly $4,000 has been raised locally to fund the church’s effort, including donations from the Jacob Marley Foundation and other community members.