Richard’s Almanac: Neighbors helping neighbors

I was over at the Presbyterian Church the other day and found out a great deal about the Island Food Pantry.

Managed by two retired teachers, Tippi and Al Bevan, the pantry is open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays and has all sorts of food items available to persons who need them, according to the Town’s Senior Program Manager Karin Bennett. 

The Bevans were out of town so I did not get a chance to speak with them. But I did learn that they do all the shopping for food with cash donations that are made. In the large shelf-lined room where the food is kept, there is a drop box for cash donations.

Karin noted that food donations that are past their expiration date or cans that are dented should not be deposited.

She added that refrigeration is not available so perishable items like eggs and milk are not available. Nor is bread. Paper products are no longer stocked.

“We hope that the food here is the same type of quality that you would feed your family,” Karin said.

The facility is accessible from the rear of the church. It runs on an honor system and is not monitored. It is also for Shelter Islanders who need it, I was told.

So if you feel altruistic, consider making a food drop or a cash donation at the pantry. Everything is appreciated.

And speaking of altruism, Senior Center Director Lori Fanelli spoke with me last week about the benefits of volunteering here on the Island. Seniors in need benefit so much from volunteers here.

“What would we do without our volunteers — in a health emergency, a fire, what basic need would go un-met?” Lori said, adding that all Island organizations always need help.

She told a story about working at a soup kitchen where she met the late Charlotte Hannabury, calling her a “consummate volunteer.”

Lori said that Charlotte “oozed compassion” and that this compassion was contagious and anyone who wants to continue her compassion should give to the Island Gift of Life Foundation.

I also learned that there are many personal and professional benefits that come from volunteering.

There is skill development. There are also opportunities to socialize and gain comfort in the knowledge that what you are doing is having an impact.