Port Washington brothers David, 18, left, and Jonathan Gold, 15,...

Port Washington brothers David, 18, left, and Jonathan Gold, 15, pictured on Wednesday, started a canned food drive during the pandemic. Collection bins like these are located at several local businesses. Credit: Danielle Silverman

Can you help, too? That is the question that has turned into a life’s mission for a pair of Port Washington brothers fighting food insecurity and national shortages by helping local pantries and organizations stock sought-after items.

After the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, David and Jonathan Gold launched Can You Help Too, a community project to help local pantries boost their canned food supplies. The nonprofit has several permanent bins around the hamlet and some pop-up locations.

“It was a mix; it was a love for the community and mainly helping people in need during quarantine that didn’t have a chance to get food,” said Jonathan, 15, a sophomore at Paul D. Schreiber Senior High School in Port Washington, describing why they decided to help.

The Golds have been coming to the aid of others since they were younger. David, 18, said the family prepared and delivered dinners for families in need for almost a decade before the pandemic forced them to stop.

“We wanted to do something similar to that, and we were hoping for that level of outreach, and I think we’ve sort of gotten there,” said David, who attends Syracuse University. “I think we can still grow a little bit more.”

With the assistance of their mother, Sandrine, who helps coordinate pickups and drop-offs, the teens have been able to stay consistent with their efforts. 

Much of the canned food they collect goes to the pantry at Our Lady of Fatima Roman Catholic Church in Port Washington, which services about 160 families a month. Sister Kathy Somerville, who supervises the church’s outreach programs, said there has been an increase in families seeking assistance since the pandemic and that during the summer months, the pantry sees a decrease in supplies.

“Since COVID, we have taken on more families, so the need for food has certainly increased,” Somerville said. “During the year there are groups that run food drives, but during the summer when everyone is off, there are no food drives, so our supply is less.”

Somerville said they depend on donations and the help of volunteers, like the Gold brothers, to make up for low inventory.

“They don’t just do it once, they do it all the time, and that to me is commendable,” she said.

The siblings recently partnered with The Parent Resource Center in Port Washington,  a nonprofit that offers an array of outreach programs for children, parenting workshops and developmental classes geared toward infants and toddlers.

Nicole Asselta, director of the center, said the pandemic left many of the organization’s families with no means to buy necessities like baby wipes and diapers, which were in short supply nationally. The Golds have sought out donations and delivered them to the center.

“I think very few people understand how difficult it is for families with income challenges to provide diapers, wipes and formula for their families, and bringing awareness helps that,” Asselta said. “When you have young people shining a light on that … I think everybody benefits greatly.”

DONATION DROPS

  • Beauty Fluff, 95 Main St., Port Washington
  • The Sands Point Preserve, 127 Middle Neck Rd., Sands Point
  • The Growing Love Community Garden, Manorhaven Boulevard in Manorhaven

For more information or to schedule a donation, the Gold brothers can be reached by email at help@canyouhelptoo.org or on Instagram at canyouhelptooPW. 

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