The Island Harvest food pantry at Ark of Salvation Worship Center in Oceanside is continuing to operate and serving more people than usual, said Rev. Carlos D. Acosta, the church’s pastor.
“We’ve kept it active this whole time,” Acosta said, “but we’ve taken extreme-type precautions to ensure the safety and health of everyone going by for necessary food items.”
Normally, there are set days and times for individuals to pick up food. However, to help prevent spread of Covid-19, food distribution is now by appointment only.
Those in need of food assistance can call the pantry coordinator, Thomas Ramirez, at (516) 492-1873 to arrange a pick up. The elderly or those caring for the sick, and unable to make it to the church, can schedule a food delivery with Ramirez, as well.
“Some families are quarantined, or tested Covid-positive, or are taking care of a sick family member,” Acosta explained, “so we will make contactless delivery and get a box or two bags of groceries. We call ahead and leave it right on the doorstep.”
While before the coronavirus pandemic, the pantry fed around two to three families each of the four days it was open, it now feeds an average of 10 to 12 — and sometimes up to 20 — families per day.
Acosta attributed the dramatic increase of those in need to the rising rates of unemployment as businesses are closing amid the pandemic. Most families in need come from Oceanside, and others come from surrounding towns such as Island Park, Baldwin, Freeport, Rockville Centre and Valley Stream.
Acosta emphasized that the food pantry is open to all in need, not just church members or locals, he said.
“The food pantry is there for everyone that is in need,” Acosta said. “We are not looking to check anyone’s background, history or income. We’re here to serve and will continue to function as long as we are can. We are here for the community.”
The Island Harvest food pantry at Ark of Salvation is located at 3161 Royal Ave. in Oceanside, just across from the Oceanside Long Island Railroad Station. At this time, those in need must call (516) 492-1873 to arrange a pick up, as no one is permitted in the church building due to Covid-19.
For more information about Island Harvest food pantries, and how you can either receive food or donate, click here.
For a full list of open and closed Island Harvest pantries, click here.