If you know, let us know. Send your responses to [email protected] or phone (631) 749-1000, extension 354.
Our photo last week of the community food pantry at the Shelter Island Presbyterian Church’s Fellowship Hall (see below), got an extraordinary response. We hope that translates to food and cash donations to the pantry.
Letting us know that they knew were Roger McKeon, Tom Speeches, Donna King, Giovanna Ketcham, David Binder, Janet Rescigno, Ed Mullins, Christopher Stone, Barbara Weber Perrillo, Dennis Raffelock, Amanda Hayward, Georgiana Ketcham, Elise Horning, Cynthia Michalak, Maryann McGinn and 10-year-old Ellie Pedone, who mentioned that her great-grandmother, Helen Stroll, was a member of the Presbyterian congregation for many years,
Tippi and Al Bevan, with help from hardworking volunteers, have been running the free pantry for the last 11 years. This time of year, the number of hungry people using the pantry has increased due to the cold weather and because seasonal, outdoor work, as well as jobs at restaurants and inns, has dried up, leaving breadwinners to provide for their families any way they can.
No records are kept of the number of people who use the pantry — a large, high ceilinged space tucked into a corner of Fellowship Hall — since the Bevans or other volunteers are not present from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday when the pantry is open. One reason there’s no staff there is to allow those relying on the charity a measure of dignity.
Several people noted that the photo showed the pantry as not being well stocked. Looks can be deceiving, Carrie Wood wrote on our Facebook Page: “The food pantry is restocked almost daily, with only a few items of each kind at a time put out —from a much larger, very well stocked, locked closet.
“This way we are allowed to leave it available and open without supervision every single weekday. Most off-Island pantries are open only once or twice a week for a few hours or must have full time staff and they monitor/limit what people take.
“Our space is donated by the Presbyterian Church, runs 100 percent on donations and volunteers, and cannot have refrigeration or offer unlabeled perishables without staff and an entirely different set-up that would cost in dollars and manpower.
“We provide a lot of food and personal items to this community, so please don’t be fooled by bare looking shelves.”