Seaford-based nonprofit For the Love of Pete’s Pantry is hosting its second annual Thanksgiving food drive throughout November, with support from the Town of Hempstead.
The pantry is collecting non-perishable food items, especially Thanksgiving sides, such as stuffing, instant mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese, cornbread mix, gravy, canned veggies, cranberry sauce and more.
“This drive is so important,” said the group’s founder, Beth Escobar, “because Thanksgiving and Christmas are supposed to be joyous but can be extremely difficult times for some families. Many Long Islanders look for places they can donate to during these holidays, and the pantry is an outlet for that.”
So far, the pantry has adopted 30 families in need who will be provided with items to cook a complete Thanksgiving dinner. Remaining collected goods will be donated to Long Island families who are food insecure.
Donations can be dropped off at any time to the pantry’s headquarters at 437 Piping Rock Road in Seaford. The pantry requests that donors include a note with their names, so that the organization can thank them.
For the convenience of donors, the pantry has created an Amazon wishlist, which they’ve posted on their website and Facebook page, listing the specific items needed for the drive. Items ordered on this wishlist will be shipped directly to the pantry.
This year’s Thanksgiving drive will honor the late Mary Louise Brunie, mother-in-law of pantry co-coordinator Claudia Brunie. Claudia’s mother-in-law died a decade ago due to complications from an abdominal aortic aneurysm. Mary Louise always cherished gathering with her family on Thanksgiving, Escobar said, so the drive is being held in her honor.
For the Love of Pete’s Pantry was created in honor of founder Beth Escobar’s father, Pete Haller, who passed away 21 years ago due to cancer.
“My father had a deep concern for homeless people and for people who were food insecure,” said Escobar, “so we thought this would be a great way to honor his memory.”
The pantry holds both a Thanksgiving food drive and a Christmas gift drive annually, but their effort to support food-insecure families happens 365 days a year. “Throughout the year, organizations come to us with their needs and we put it out to our supporters and make it happen,” said Escobar.
Escobar said that the pantry receives overwhelming support from the Seaford community and surrounding Long Island communities.
“We could not do what we do without our supporters,” she said, “we have amazing supporters who always help us with whatever we need.”
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