All For the East End, an organization that works to support East End nonprofits, has distributed nearly $200,000 in grants to pantries and nonprofit organizations addressing food insecurity, according to AFTEE.
The Feed the Need campaign is addressing issues of food instability and other concerns raised by the COVID-19 pandemic. After distributing $100,000 to four pantries last week, another $95,000 was approved by AFTEE’s grant advisory committee to be distributed to several local organizations such as Blaze Church in Flanders, Community Action Southold Town in Greenport and Church of the Harvest in Riverhead.
Blaze Church held its first weekly drive-thru pantry last week. They served 325 people with 200 bags of groceries within 35 minutes, Pastor Keith Indovino said.
“Unfortunately, we had to turn away 175 people,” he said. “Our goal is to hold the drive-thru for the next three Thursdays at 1 p.m. and to be able to feed more people each week. For us, it’s one of the basic principles, ‘Love thy neighbor as thy self’ and ‘feed the hungry.’ The AFTEE grant is critical to our ability to buy enough food to feed everyone who needs it.”
Other organizations receiving funds include The East End Food Institute in East Hampton, Montauk Food Pantry and Heart of the Hamptons in Southampton.
AFTEE board president Claudia Pilato said the problems many people are facing aren’t going to be going away soon.
“We have to keep in mind that this is not a one-shot and out deal,” she said. “We are in this for the long-term. The problems we are dealing with today will continue for many months, even years.”
She added that generosity from “both large and small donors has allowed AFTEE to distribute the funds where they are most needed.”
Nonprofit organizations can submit grant requests at www.aftee.org.