New Food Pantry On Long Island Helps Feed Hungry While Providing Jobs

FREEPORT, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A brand new food pantry on Long Island serves as the perfect partnership to help those in need and those needing to lend a hand.

The pantry in Nassau County is providing meals and bringing jobs to a segment of the population facing extremely high unemployment, as TV 10/55 Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose reported.

Inside the cavernous warehouse on Hansen Avenue in Freeport, Council of Churches trainer Brenda Ford was teaching an eager group of apprentices the ins and outs of running a large food pantry, TV 10/55’s Richard Rose reports.

“How to stock the shelves, how to assist someone, how to go out into the community,” she explained.

Going out into the community is the whole idea around the new collaboration between the Council of Churches, which debuted its brand new food pantry, and AHRC Nassau, which operates assisted living homes for thousands of developmentally disabled residents.

Now, many of those residents will be trained how to serve the hungry who come into the pantry, while also getting paid to stock and run the pantry’s warehouse. Organizers say it serves two often overlooked populations.

“It’s a place for people coming in with burdens to have some respite, and to sit down and be treated like humans with dignity and not be stigmatized,” Dyanne Pena, of the Long Island Council of Churches, said.

The workers are also being trained how to serve food to help them get jobs in businesses like catering. It’s a group facing daunting job prospects.

“About 70 percent of people with development disabilities are not employed,” Stanfort Perry, of AHRC Nassau, said.

Gloria Waller, of Roosevelt, now lives on her own after learning how to become a kitchen chef. She and her friend, Regina Jones, both have jobs at concession stands.

“I did baking,” Waller said. “I love to cook and to clean everything, and I love to help prepare food.”

A shocking new survey finds that nearly one third of useful food is thrown away daily. Supporters of food pantries say they can be a solution that offers everyone a true helping hand.

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