Food pantry in Freeport seeks a new location


For months, the Long Island Council of Churches in Freeport has been desperately searching for a new space to operate its food pantry, which provides for needy families in the community.

The pantry will continue its operations at 230 Hanse Ave., until the end of the month, when its lease expires.

Founded in 1969, the LICC coordinates the work done by churches across Nassau and Suffolk counties to improve living conditions for Long Island residents, and works with volunteers to assist the needy.

“We’re having a hard time finding a replacement space,” said Deacon Anthony Achong, a Freeport resident and director of administration and operations at the LICC.

The food pantry has been open five days a week for at least 15 years, serving 1,500 families a month who deal with food insecurity.

The pantry has not been able to renew its lease — due to the space’s owner needing the building for some of its programs — and is temporarily ceasing operations for April while charting out its next big move.

Closing the pantry temporarily couldn’t have come at a worse time — when food insecurity on Long Island is much higher than normal, due to rising food and gas prices, and at a time when donations have decreased.

The pantry is able to purchase food through the charitable donations of LICC-affiliated church congregations.

“Since Covid, we’ve had a real decrease in congregational giving,” said the Rev. Ron Garner, of the Wantagh Memorial Congregational Church, who is also LICC treasurer and serves on its board.

“We’ve been running deficits, but we’re hoping if we find a new location, we can begin to get back to financial health,” he added.

Garner said he’s concerned that parishioners will be even less inclined to give once they learn the pantry will temporarily shut its doors — and will not be in a giving mood until the pantry is up and running again in a new space.

However, the LICC will continue to work with other area pantries, which it will be supporting in the interim, in an effort to collect donations and put food in the mouths of hungry families.

Achong — who stated that donations are down an estimated 60% — said the LICC is looking for a new location with between 1,500-2,500 square feet of space, and a possible loading dock.

“We need office space and open space for food storage/distribution — also adequate parking for our client that receive services,” he said.

The pantry’s current location, comprising 5,000 square feet, has room for its two refrigerators and six freezers. Finding a new location to house all that equipment has not been easy, Achong said.

“We’re probably going to have to switch to non-perishable items, only if we can’t find a space that allows us to have freezers,” the deacon added.

A commercial property would probably be able to house the necessary equipment, but commercial properties are expensive and the LICC is a non-for-profit organization.

“The problem we’re having is trying to find some place we can afford,” Achong said.

The impact the LICC’s food pantry has had on the community is undeniable, Achong said. In 2023, the pantry served about 594,000 meals to 66,000 individuals. Over the last five years, the pantry has been responsible for serving close to 3 million meals to residents in need.

After the 30-day shutdown, the pantry intends to resume operations — but it needs a space to do it.

“Even if it’s a smaller space, it’s still a space,” Achong said.

In the meantime, a website,, has been set up for residents to search for food pantries in their area while the LICC seeks to relocate. Just enter your zip code to find nearby food pantries.

Anyone who may know of a possible new location for the pantry may contact the LICC at