The Kiwanis Club of East Meadow held a food drive on the weekend outside of the ShopRite in Uniondale. Seven truckloads of non-perishable food and 54 gift cards, were collected for local pantries with monetary donations amounting to $545.
The beneficiaries of the food drive were pantries ran by St. Raphael Parish in East Meadow, Saint Martha’s Roman Catholic Church in Uniondale, St. Brigid’s Catholic Church in Westbury, the Nassau County Veterans Service Agency located in Nassau University Medical Center and East Meadow Beth-El Jewish Center.
Catherine Razzano, of the Kiwanis Club of East Meadow, said this food drive might have been their most successful one yet.
“The generosity was unbelievable,” Razzano said on Sunday. “They realize the last thing you ever want is for people to be hungry and not be able to feed their families. It takes a village and this village really came out today and yesterday.”
Approximately 50 members of the Kiwanis stopped by that weekend to support the cause, including Lt. Governor for the Kiwanis Long Island South Central Division Gregg Cajuste and Governor Elect James Mancuso.
“People are really generous in general,” Razzano said. “It restores your faith in humanity when you see the generosity in the community.”
When the food was dropped off at the various locations, she said, pantry volunteers were ecstatic and gracious for the food that would help feed many families.
“[The pantries] were so very grateful,” said Kiwanis Club of East Meadow President Lisa Hallett. “They were very surprised.. I think they were more shocked then anything of how much was given.”
Deacon Darrell Buono of St. Brigid’s food pantry said he was overwhelmed by the generosity of people when receiving the donation of food.
“We really found that during this whole time of the pandemic that people’s hearts are open and are searching for some way to help, and this is one example,” Buono said. “We’re so grateful because the numbers of people coming to the pantry have really more than doubled.”
Community solidarity, Buono believes, comes when people realize that there is a need right in their own communities.
“So many people suffer from food insecurity,” Buono said. “I think a lot of people too, realize that they may not be far from it themselves. That’s what we learned this year, how fragile things are.”