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LI pantry, community deliver for quarantined residents

Penelope Rudder, founder of Little Free Pantry in the Greenport, is trying to help self-quarantined residents by delivering food to their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic. Credit: Randee Daddona

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With the help of other neighbors and businesses in Greenport, Penelope Rudder, who runs Little Free Pantry in the North Fork village, is trying to help self-quarantined residents by delivering food to their homes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This is our home. And when you have people in your home, you try to show them love,'' Rudder says. ''And one of the best ways to do it is with the food that you love, so that’s what I try to do.''

Rudder says the idea started after she heard that her friend Pat Mundus, of Greenport, had placed herself in quarantine after she returned from vacation in Italy, where more than 27,000 cases have been reported and more than 2,100 people have died because of the virus.

Mundus, 62, a retired sailor who runs boat rental service East End Charters during the summer, says she had a neighbor who was leaving food on her doorstep while in quarantine. However, when Rudder heard about her situation, Rudder decided to leave fresh food including eggs, fruits and vegetables at her doorstep.

With 28 cases of COVID-19 reported in Southold as of Tuesday, Rudder says she felt delivering fresh food to others in the village was a way to help give them the foods they needed while promoting kindness within the village.

The people to whom she delivered food had been “very happy” so far, Rudder says.

Other individuals and businesses including the Greenport Hotel and the Blue Duck Bakery in Greenport have been helping contribute either space, time or food necessary so people in quarantine can get food despite their circumstances, Rudder says.

Mundus, whose 14-day quarantine period had recently ended, says she has since decided to volunteer her time to deliver some of those goods in her truck to quarantined residents, some she had seen waving at her in gratitude through their windows.

 “For some people, you have to really help them to make it possible to stay home,” Mundus says, adding that such deliveries were especially important for residents living alone. “If you have a system set up or if you have a partner to take care of things for you, but when you live alone, you can’t always do it by yourself.”

Mundus says she was glad the program could touch the lives of her neighbors with compassion amid the pandemic.

“That’s one good part about disasters. They do show the positive things of the way a community can pull together,” Mundus says.

Residents interested in getting such deliveries can email Rudder at pennyrudder@gmail.com or visit the Our Little Free Pantry page on Facebook.

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