Riverhead Food Pantry set for winter thanks to $25,000 grant

07/28/2014 8:00 AM |
Long Island Council of Churches office manager Carolyn Gumbs and volunteer MIchael Lacy of Shinnecock Reservation in Southampton preparing side dishes for the annual Migrants Dinner last November. (Credit: File)

Long Island Council of Churches office manager Carolyn Gumbs and volunteer MIchael Lacy of Shinnecock Reservation in Southampton preparing side dishes for the annual Migrants Dinner last November. (Credit: File)

The Long Island Council of Churches recently receive a $50,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation for Hunger Relief and is planning to use half of the funds to purchase food for its pantry in Riverhead.

LICC is a faith-based, non-profit emergency food and social service agency that fed about 23,400 Long Islanders nearly 210,300 meals last year. The $50,000 grant LICC applied for will be split between its food pantries in Nassau and Suffolk counties.

The organization’s Suffolk county location is the Riverhead Food Pantry on Osborn Avenue. Carolyn Gumbs, the Riverhead pantry manager, said the grant is designated for food purchases only.

“It means that we’ll be able to keep our doors open,” Ms. Gumbs said when asked about how the pantry and people of Riverhead will benefit from the grant. “Most food pantries are only open two or three days a week, but we are open five days a week, so that costs a lot.”

Ms. Gumbs said that when the pantry normally places food orders they cost between $5,000 and $6,000. Depending on how busy they are, she said these orders can be placed as frequently as once a month.

Food demand decreases during the summer, she said, when most of the pantry’s guests find seasonal jobs. But the pantry gets very busy during the winter months after people get laid off. For that reason, she said, the Riverhead pantry’s $25,000 will be saved until the winter season.

Rev. Tom Goodhue, LICC’s executive director, said he’s very appreciative of the grant.

“Despite all the support we receive locally from houses of worship, civic organizations and the like, we need monetary donations to make up the huge gap between these in-kind donations and the needs of the more than 23,000 hungry Long Islanders we feed each year,” he said. “The Walmart Foundation’s generous grant enables us to accomplish that.”

intern@timesreview.com