Officials at a Greenport nonprofit said a recent $100,000 grant from Bank of America will allow them to expand programs that feed and assist struggling individuals and local families as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.
Officials with Community Action Southold Town Inc. (CAST), which helps low-income individuals and families on the North Fork, said the grant will go toward purchasing needed food supplies, expanding meal programs for families with children, launching a new takeout meal program and more.
Cathy Demeroto, executive director of Southold CAST, said that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic the nonprofit has seen needs and demand for services on the North Fork increase dramatically. In turn, that has caused CAST’s month-to-month food expenses to rise from $1,200 to $7,000.
“There’s been a tremendous increase in need out here on the North Fork,” Demeroto said. “We’ve gone from providing approximately 5,000 meals a month to now about 20,000 a month.”
Among the programs the nonprofit will expand are its mobile food pantry and emergency Feed-A-Kid program that provides breakfast, lunch and snacks to families with children who rely on free and reduced-price meals. In addition, the grant will help Southold CAST pay for food pantry supplies and emergency assistance requests for families to help them with electric, heat, rent or medical bills.
The nonprofit has “seen a significant increase in those requests with such high unemployment,” Demeroto said.
The grant will also help CAST launch its “Feed Southold” initiative, in which the nonprofit will provide prepared takeout meal distributions. The program will be announced through social media, the CAST website, and text message upon its launch.
Bob Isaksen, Long Island market president for Bank of America, said that as a Long Island resident he appreciated CAST “for its unwavering commitment and dedication to the North Fork community.”
“CAST is a helping hand for those who find themselves in vulnerable situations, and we are pleased to have been able to increase our giving to help them meet the overwhelming demand for their services during times like this,” Isaksen said.