Community Action of Southold Town (CAST) celebrated its 50th anniversary at Soundview Restaurant in Greenport Thursday night.
The organization was founded half a century ago through an alliance of concerned citizens and local church leaders as part of the “War on Poverty” movement launched a year earlier by President Lyndon B. Johnson during a State of the Union address.
Originally, CAST was federally funded, but “that money ran out and wasn’t renewed,” the Rev. Ben Burns of Greenport said last year. He was one of the group’s nine founding members when he was affiliated with the former Southold Methodist Church.
CAST president Denis Noncarrow gave a speech acknowledging the many people who work to aid the residents of Southold Town, as the nonprofit mainly runs on donations from locals.
The mission of the Greenport-based organization is “to promote self-sufficiency and provide a safety net for Southold Town residents in need.”
He thanked local companies who have stepped up to donate food, fuel and supplies to those in need. He thanked those who volunteered their time to tutor, mentor and raise funds for school supplies, food and education.
Mr. Noncarrow also mentioned that over the 50 years that CAST has been in existence, the needs of the community continue to grow. This year alone, over 140 backpacks filled with school supplies had been distributed to local children.
“This is a blessed organization,” he said.
In attendance on Thursday night were CAST board members and employees, volunteers and supporters. Representatives from the State Assembly, the state Senator’s office, the Suffolk County Legislature, and Southold Town were also on hand to offer congratulations to CAST.