Community groups and a local supermarket chain responded to Councilwoman Joan Cergol’s call to help end summer hunger, providing food and donations to aid food-challenged youngsters who participate in programs sponsored by Huntington Tri-CYA.
Cergol issued the call earlier this month, after discussions with Tri-CYA executive director Debbie Rimler about the urgent need to help children who have access to meals through a variety of programs during the school year, but whose access is reduced during the summer, especially on weekends.
Cergol circulated flyers asking for donations and contacted representatives from various community groups as well as Best Market, a Bethpage-based supermarket chain with stores in Huntington Station and East Northport among its 24 Long Island locations.
Last week, Best began the first of several scheduled drop-offs of donated fresh produce – grape tomatoes, lettuce, potatoes and apples were in the first shipment – to the Tri-CYA headquarters at 809 New York Avenue. Community groups Leadership Huntington, the Townwide Fund, the Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce and Moonjumpers contributed funds to purchase additional food and other community groups – including American Legion Greenlawn Post 1244 and local Boy and Girl scout troops – have pledged to collect food and drop it off at the headquarters. Individual donations are also welcomed.
“I am gratified by the response to this call for assistance and especially thank Vita Scaturro for helping to mobilize the community groups and Best Market for its donation of healthy food options for Tri-CYA’s clients and their families,” Cergol said. “They have shown that they understand that while for most of us, summer is a time to relax, take vacations and enjoy outdoor activities, there are others for whom summer creates additional challenges.”
“Best is committed to giving back the communities where we do business and we are happy that we can assist Tri-CYA and Councilwoman Cergol in this effort,” said Jonthan Sender, the chain’s vice president of advertising and marketing. “But most of all, we are pleased that we can help children and their families cope with their difficult situations.”
“I was absolutely amazed when the Best truck pulled up to our headquarters and began bringing in the cartons of fresh produce, and I continue to be gratified by the continuing donations from our service groups,” Tri-CYA executive director Rimler said. “These donations will really make a difference in many households for many families.”
Tri-CYA – the Tri Community and Youth Agency — is a private, not-for-profit community based agency dedicated to supporting the growth and development of youth and their families in the communities of Huntington, South Huntington and Cold Spring Harbor.
Tri-CYA is open to accept donations Monday-Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from noon-5 p.m. It is located in the Big H Shopping Center behind Famous Footwear (look for the awning in the rear of the building).
(l-r) Martine McDonald of Tri-CYA; Best Market vice president of advertising and marketing Jonathan Sender; Councilwoman Joan Cergol; Tri-CYA Executive Director Debbie Rimler.
Second photo (l-r): Peter Bertuglia, treasurer, Moonjumpers Charitable Foundation; Courtney Bynoe, associate executive director, Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce; Vita Scaturro, grants chair, The Townwide Fund, first vice president, Moonjumpers and board member, Huntington Township Chamber of Commerce; Tri-CYA executive director Debbie Rimler; Councilwoman Joan Cergol; Gloria Palacios, executive director, The Townwide Fund; and James Powers, president, The Townwide Fund.