Facing more people than ever in need of emergency food, the Long Island Council of Churches announced recently that it was granted $12,500 to help feed the extra mouths.
The Council of Churches is a nonprofit with offices in Nassau and Suffolk Counties — its Suffolk County office is on Osborn Avenue in Riverhead. The Rev. Tom Goodhue, executive director of the organization, said that the grant given by The Slomo and Cindy Silvian Foundation couldn’t have come at a better time.
“The LICC fed 25 percent more people this November than we did in November of 2012,” said Goodhue. “And 2012 was itself a record year. Food donations usually decline after the holidays, which makes this gift all the more appreciated.”
In November, the organization reported that it had already started to see an increase in need year-over-year after Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, commonly know as food stamps, were cut in the federal budget.
Carolyn Gumbs, office manager at LI Council of Churches in Riverhead, said at the time that the pantry had seen about a 10 percent increase in recipients so far this month.
“We’re seeing the increase because were seeing people who haven’t been here in years – some of the families don’t even like the idea of coming here,” she said. “We’re going to need more of everything that we have in order to help supply the demand.”
The council also reported that long-term unemployment cuts at the end of 2013 put further stress on the organization, and the pantry has seen further demand for food and services.