The East Hampton Food Pantry has a new address in time for its grand opening in less than a week.
The pantry will operate out of the Hampton Country Day Camp at 191 Buckskill Rd. in East Hampton until May 2, as officials work to find a permanent location. The property is owned by Jay Jacobs, chairman of the Nassau County Democratic Committee.
Pantry officials began relocating on Saturday. The pantry sought a new location after officials were told during the summer that it would have to leave a senior complex on Accabonac Road operated by the Windmill Housing Development Fund Co. The pantry had operated from the facility for 12 years, serving individuals and families once a week throughout the year. Windmill officials said the pantry operation was too large to continue operating there.
Jacobs said he read about the food pantry’s predicament in a newspaper article and felt compelled to help. The day camp is just less than 11 acres and houses a large dining hall and kitchen, parking areas and “good-sized” areas for food storage, he said.
“I read the story in the paper, and to me, it just seemed to me to be an easy fix,” said Jacobs. “As long as they can maintain it and take care of it, it’s theirs to use.”
Jacobs added that East Hampton Town officials checked to make sure the location had proper permits and could house the pantry’s operations.
East Hampton Town Supervisor Larry Cantwell said he is happy the pantry has someplace to operate for the time being, but stressed that the accommodations are temporary and that efforts continue to find a permanent location.
“It’s really important. We live in a seasonal community, so the need for help is greater in the winter,” said Cantwell, adding that between 300 to 400 people visit the pantry weekly in the middle of an average winter.
Food pantry officials did not return calls for comment, but officials confirmed in a statement last week that the pantry will relocate to the day camp and thanked Jacobs “for reaching out to us during this difficult time and providing us with a facility that will ensure that the food pantry will continue to help feed those in need in our community.”
In the statement, officials emphasized the need for donations and the threat of colder temperatures.
“With the winter months fast approaching, our services to the community are increasing drastically,” the statement read. “We continue to be in desperate need of food and monetary donations, more so than ever before, since time spent on finding a permanent location has reduced the time we normally spend on fundraising.”