When Donna Galgano, her sister, Val Monroy, and Gina Kang began the People’s Pantry in November 2019 they never imagined it would take off as it has.
Galgano, of Oyster Bay, decided to open the food pantry in her hometown because she knew of residents who were food insecure, some who were from the three low-income housing developments in the hamlet and senior citizens. During the height of Covid, the food pantry on Audrey Avenue went from serving 50 people to 300.
The three women began their volunteerism at the Shelter Rock Food Pantry in Manhasset. They would go on summer mission trips to Baltimore to help those in need. Because of the coronavirus, the past two years they were unable to go.
“We thought, ‘Why not do something overseas,’” Kang, who lives in Port Washington, said. “So, we got involved in the nonprofit Rise Against Hunger. This was a good way to do teamwork with our volunteers.”
Rise Against Hunger, a global movement to end hunger, has a meal packing program that encourages participation from volunteers. People Loving People, the nonprofit that manages the pantry, fundraised for Rise, raising over $4,000, enough for 10,000 meals.
Rise brought the food purchased from the donation to the food pantry on Oct. 30 for the 30 volunteers to sort and pack for the food insecure, which was sent to Haiti.
“Everything went smoothly and we ended early,” Galgano said. “We realized we can do twice that next year. It really was a great event and the volunteers enjoyed it.”
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