Supplies at Riverhead’s mobile food pantry run out in about an hour

Stotzky Park was converted into a mobile food pantry Friday afternoon during a drive that saw hundreds line up to access food donated by Island Harvest.

An assembly line of volunteers quickly worked to drop boxes of prepackaged meals, fruit and vegetables, eggs, frozen food and even school supplies into each vehicle that passed by. People on foot and bicycles also lined up, standing six feet apart, to receive boxes.

The supplies — 10 pallets worth — were exhausted after just an hour. Over 100 vehicles were turned away after 2 p.m.

Riverhead Town Board members Frank Beyrodt and Catherine Kent said that while they knew a need existed in the community, they were shocked at how the coronavirus outbreak has pushed the problem to this point.

The line of at least 500 motorists in line backed up for a mile and a half to North Griffing Avenue, according to a Riverhead police officer directing traffic nearby.

Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar was one of several elected officials handing out supplies at the community park. Just months into her first term as supervisor, Ms. Aguiar said she never could have imagined a crisis like this. She called for unity in the face of uncertainty.

“We’ve got to battle this invisible health crisis together,” she said.