With the unemployment rate climbing and some conventional assistance avenues closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many families are in need of help finding food and other necessary products. Bellport’s Amelia “Emmy” Specht, 17, is working to assist some of those families in her community.
“There’s need all over Long Island,” Specht said of her inspiration to start this endeavor.
For about four weeks, Specht has been collecting food on her front porch and donating it to families in the Bellport and East Patchogue communities. Specht is a senior about to graduate from Stony Brook School, and has used her network of family, friends, and neighbors to spread her initiative.
“It’s not hard to reach out to find people who will give you connections,” she said.
One of those connections was the Boys and Girls Club in Bellport. Specht connected with the staff there and found families in need. Each week, she calls out for donations of nonperishable goods or money to buy groceries. Then she’ll collect the goods and organize them, making large packages for each family. On Sundays, she and her family will make trips to each family, dropping off the packages.
Specht started serving about five families, but recently was doing about 20. She expects to be up to around 30 soon. She said these numbers reflect a growing need for food, but also the community’s support in getting her the resources to deliver for families.
“The community is really engaged and very supportive,” she said.
Specht is looking for donations of nonperishable foods—requests have included cereal, pasta, pasta sauce, canned vegetables, canned soup, canned fruit, juice, peanut butter, jelly, bread, milk, hot dogs, hamburgers, chicken and children’s snacks.
“Any amount that is donated helps so much,” Specht said.
To donate, drop off items at 26 Browns Lane and leave them in one of the boxes on the front porch. To make a monetary donation, which will be used to purchase additional groceries each week, visit www.foodforsuffolkcounty.org.