The weather is balmy, the pandemic is kinda-sorta almost over, and everyone on the East End is living well now, right? Wrong. According to our sources at the various East End food pantries, many of our neighbors still need assistance getting healthful meals on the table. Food insecurity increased at the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, but even now, as the danger appears to be fading, a large number of local families continue to struggle.
A broad swath of residents are living in a state of perpetual near-crisis; many are hard-working people who hold down one or more jobs, while other clients are aged or infirm and unable to work. The sharp rise in the price of gas and food is driving the problem, but the cost of living here, of course, is another component. It isn’t just the unemployed, manual laborers or those in low-wage service jobs who are finding it hard to fill the refrigerator: Some small-business owners, too, are facing impossible choices daily: Should I buy groceries or my child’s medicine? Should I pay for gas to drive to that gig, or should I stay home and use that $20 to buy food for our dinner?
Summer is not typically thought of as the giving season, but we think it’s the perfect time. The food pantries (in Springs, Montauk, East Hampton, Sag Harbor, and Southampton) can be found on social media or a quick web search. Another suggestion is to visit the farm stand run by Share the Harvest Farm on Long Lane in East Hampton, opposite the well-known Iacono’s chicken farm. Share the Harvest grows all sorts of vegetables for direct donation to the pantries, but, in addition, all the proceeds of its pretty little farm stand go toward the mission of fighting hunger, too. That’s a win-win: Drop by for a head of lettuce to round out dinner and feel good about lending your hungry neighbors a hand.