A line began to form outside the Five Towns Community Center at 11:30 a.m. for doors that opened at 1 p.m. for Gammy’s Pantry on July 25.
The Community Center’s gymnasium was setup like a store with tables for men’s shirts, another for other men’s clothing, women’s apparel on a table and a rack, baby clothes, accessories such as handbags, toys and on the stage housewares, children's books and videos. Much of the items is donated from many community members.
Gammy's Pantry is named in honor of Young’s grandmother Betty Young, whose life and memory inspires Young. At intervals of 10 minutes or so a group of roughly 10 people were allowed in to “shop” for the free items.
Sasha Young, who created Gammy’s Pantry, oversaw all the activity from making sure the appropriate number of people were let into the building to ensuring that the volunteers cleaned up the tables and distributed the needed food.
“Everyone is here helping, the 600 club and the senior volunteers,” said Young as she viewed the landscape of generosity that she created two years ago and has exploded because of the tremendous need during the coronavirus pandemic.
The 600 club is a group of volunteers who as of July 3 each logged 600 hours (now much more) at the pantry during the pandemic, helping to distribute food to people in need: Young’s daughters, Alexandra and Alexis Acosta; Blanca Bran and her daughter Natalie Bran; Sarah Hayes; Syd Mandelbaum; Edwin Rodriguez; Nerthi Sanchez and Joey Valenzuela.
Gammy’s Pantry is also serving as a Long Island Cares food site, where three days a week people who have registered with Long Island Cares, can pick up a box of food.
By 2:12 p.m., the long line of people is gone and Young and her band of volunteers took a well- earned a break and waited for more people as that Saturday’s event lasted to 4 p.m. During the pause Young said: We can’t do this without people donating. We need donations for this to continue.”
To donate, call Young at (347) 702-2013. The Five Towns Community Center is at 270 Lawrence Ave. in Lawrence.