Head Start in Riverside gets helping hand from community

A number of community groups raised more than $2,000 to buy play equipment and art supplies for the Long Island Head Start on Flanders Road in Riverside.

The equipment and supplies — including tricycles, bike helmets, basketballs, footballs and soccer balls, art supplies and a small house with a sliding board — were presented to students Friday morning.

“Donations like this really help us in this time of need,” said Carol Burnett, community outreach training manager for Long Island Head Start.

Head Start is a nonprofit preschool serving children ages 3 to 5 from needy families, according to Riverside center manager Karen Gibson.

It provides three meals each day and offers a full range of services for children and their families, she said.

“The effort was started by Riverside Rediscovered, which was looking to partner within the community,” said Ron Fisher, a former Flanders, Riverside and Northampton Community Association president who is now a Riverhead Board of Education member.

Local community groups received a wish list from Head Start about items that were needed and set a fundraising target of $2,000, Mr. Fisher said.

Organizations that contributed included Riverside Rediscovered, FRNCA, the Women of the Moose in Riverhead, Suffolk Federal Credit Union in Riverside, Truth Community Church in Flanders and Ascend, formerly known as the Southampton Community Housing and Development Corps, which is an offshoot of the Southampton Housing Alliance, focusing on community building, according to executive director Curtis Highsmith Jr.

Mr. Fisher said the groups actually exceeded their fundraising target.

“One of the biggest things I heard today is that there’s such a need in the community and [Head Start] is helping to meet those needs,” said Pastor Keith Indovino of Truth Community Church.

Head Start says there are families of four in the community that make less than $26,000 per year.

“We need to get more exposure on this organization,” the pastor said. “We want to partner with them to find funding and volunteers. Anything we can do to help this organization, we’re on board.”

[email protected]