For years, the Long Island Council of Churches has provided food to families in need.
Now, the faith-based nonprofit is searching for a new home.
The organization’s executive director, the Rev. Thomas Goodhue, said he was informed Thursday afternoon that the Osborn Avenue building LICC has occupied for the past eight years is in the process of being sold and that it must vacate the premises when their lease is up at the end of April.
The building has been on the market for the past 18 months, the Rev. Goodhue said.
“We’ve known that this was a possibility and now we need to start looking in earnest,” he said. “We live in hope, as we say in the church, that we’ll find something good.”
LICC currently plays $1,236 per month in rent plus utilities, said Carolyn Gumbs, the organization’s food pantry manager. The Rev. Goodhue added that they “can’t afford any more rent than we’re paying now” and would like to stay in Riverhead.
“The challenge for us, and every other nonprofit that is helping people, is that the needs are always greater than your resources,” he said. “We really don’t have a huge amount of money to spend on rent or paying mortgages. The money we get goes toward helping people.”
LICC doesn’t receive any Riverhead Town or county funding, the Rev. Goodhue said. It does receive some funds from the Town of Southampton, he said, and in January 2014 officials announced they had been awarded a $25,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation for Hunger Relief. The Council of Churches is a nonprofit with offices in Nassau and Suffolk counties.
On Friday, a representative for East End Disability Associates, which owns the building at 407 Osborn Ave., declined to comment on future plans for the structure. The Rev. Goodhue said he hasn’t yet learned of the buyer’s identity but that EEDA told him the buyer plans to completely change the building’s use.
Ms. Gumbs said LICC’s current one-story location has served the organization well because it’s easy for customers to find and handicapped accessible.
The mood at the food pantry is “sober,” Ms. Gumbs said, but she and LICC’s other employees aren’t letting the news affect their mission.
“We have to keep an upbeat mood,” she said. “We can’t have a down mood; that’s not going to help our clients any and it’s not going to help us any.”
Caption: Yamileth and Maritza Carbajal leave LLIC Friday afternoon as clients Anthony Thomas (left) and Thomas Anderson, both of Riverhead, wait to go inside.