When Community Action Southold Town completed a recent survey of its clients, a key takeaway was transportation. Many of the residents in Southold Town that CAST supports, such as seniors or people living with disabilities, face transportation issues or are homebound.
Many can’t easily make it to CAST’s Greenport location. So now CAST will be going directly to them.
CAST unveiled its new mobile food pantry and resource center Thursday morning at the Greenport Fire Department. The “CAST on wheels” van will begin operation in January and serve as a tool for CAST members to travel throughout Southold Town to address food insecurity and provide fresh food to those in need.
“We’re so excited to be here today to celebrate the launch of CAST on wheels,” said Cathy Demeroto, CAST’s executive director.
Ms. Demeroto was joined by several other CAST members and Daniel Delehanty, the director of community development for BNB Bank. A grant from BNB Bank allowed CAST to purchase the van. Town Supervisor Scott Russell and Denis Noncarrow, the town’s government liaison officer, also attended the unveiling.
“It’s so important to ensure that our residents have proper nutrition,” Ms. Demeroto said. “Without proper nutrition, there are health consequences and it impacts their well-being and also has an economic cost to the community.”
The van will also allow CAST to pick up more fresh produce from local farm stands through their Farm to Friend program.
“We’re so grateful to the support of BNB Bank as well as the state Department of Environmental Conservation gave us some operational support for the van as well and the Harry Chapin Foundation.”
Mr. Delehanty said he recalled a conversation about six months ago with Ms. Demeroto where they discussed some of the needs for the organization. He said when she referenced the idea of a mobile pantry, “our eyes lit up.”
“This is a time where transportation and getting out is very hard, so the idea of having a mobile pantry and to be able to come to people who are vulnerable is really great,” he said.
Mr. Russell said it’s the town’s honor to help support CAST and he hopes the town can expand its support even more.
Ms. Demeroto said while the start will involve home deliveries, in the spring they plan to expand with satellite distribution centers in the community. Any volunteers who wish to help at those centers will always be welcome, she said. Monetary donations are always useful as well if anyone wishes to support CAST, she said.
Top photo caption: CAST Executive Director Cathy Demeroto and Daniel Delehanty, BNB Bank’s director of community development, unveil the new mobile food pantry Thursday morning. (Credit: Joe Werkmeister)