Gammy’s Pantry volunteers at the Five Towns Community Center in Lawrence are busy collecting donation of food to continue feeding those in need as the holidays approach.
“It’s the holiday season, many families are missing loved ones and just being able to have that little taste of home and knowing there’s going to be a meal on the table might be all that someone needs to be able to pull though into the next day and try again,” Sasha Young, Gammy’s Pantry founder said.
Since Oct. 15, the pantry has been hosting its Thanksgiving and Holiday food drive. Donations are being accepted until Dec. 24, Christmas Eve, to support pantry users through the holiday season. Donors can drop off non-perishable food items at the Community Center at 270 Lawrence Ave. The pantry will also accept gift card and monetary donations.
Volunteers are currently filling the pantry, distributing and bagging the food for distribution. Eloise Thomas has been a part of the center since 1982, previously working in the finance department. She loves her role as a volunteer for the opportunities it presents to connect with her community.
“This organization has done a lot for this community and we’d like to see it continue for the next 100 years,” Thomas said. “This was provided so that it can help the community advance themselves.”
A line of people picking up food from the pantry went out the door of the Community Center on Nov. 9 as it does many days for the people who rely on the food.
“The center is like the heart, without the heart you cannot live,” Thomas said.
Stephen Krown and Hillie Horowitz also help distribute food to those in attendance at Gammy’s Pantry.
“Hillie is a person with special needs and I’m his job coach,” Krown said. “We come once a week, we’ve been coming since about May, so over a year.”
Horowitz appreciates his opportunity to volunteer, he said. Krown believes that this is an especially important time to give back, however, that feeling should exist at all times.
“It’s a year round important time to do it, there’s tremendous food insecurity in parts of this community and people tend to be more generous during the holidays, so we and the food pantry take advantage of peoples generosity,” Krown said.
Mariarosa Guzzardi began volunteering at Gammy’s Pantry during the Covid pandemic and has not stopped since.
“This is my family, I come everyday to give help to the people that need it,” Guzzardi said.
Ingrid Izaguirre who recently ran for Town of Hempstead council in District 3, regularly volunteers with the pantry to do what she can for the community.
“It’s important, it’s the holidays, were all supposed to be humane to each other,” Izaguirre said. “Even though the elections over, and unfortunately I didn’t win, it doesn’t change the fact that I love being here, serving the community, it’s such a rewarding and great feeling for me to know that I can help them or serve them because whether an elected official or not it’s about serving your community and helping the other people.”
To become involved, call Young at (347) 702-2013.