Tag Archive | "food pantry"

Evelyn Ramunno

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The director of the Sag Harbor Food Pantry on the growing need in the community and how neighbors can help.

What role does the food pantry play in the community?

We are a very substantial part of the Sag Harbor Community. With so many people out of work and with this time of year, the number of families continue to increase dramatically. Seasonal workers no longer have seasonal work. During Thanksgiving week we had 85 families and this past week we had 68. Any family that lives in Sag Harbor can use the food pantry and we try to give them enough food so that each person in their family can have 2 ½ meals.

How do the needs of the food pantry’s patrons change throughout the year?

We serve food and the need for food doesn’t change throughout the year. The people who come here are in need and we are here to help. This year things were so tough that even seasonal workers who could find work during the summer, continue to use the food pantry year round. The people who use our food pantry need us and continue to use us year round.

What type of food is typically donated to the pantry?

We get lots of pasta, canned food and canned soups, and the great thing about that is you can always make a meal out of those items. We also get some really exotic items when people clean out their food pantry when they leave for the winter. We’ve had fancy pastas and rice and this week we’ve had a jar of caviar. But you’d be surprised that there is always someone who knows what the food is and is really excited to have it

What types of donations are most needed?

We are always in need of money, so we can purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese, butter and eggs along with meat items. We do receive bread donations from Panera Bread, The Golden Pear, Starbucks, Bagel Buoy and Cromers Market. In the summer we receive donations from the Country Garden farm stand and the EECO Farm’s food pantry garden. Provisions donates a lot of food too. But we always need more fresh food.

With the upcoming holidays, do you have anything special planned?

We’ll have a Santa come on the 21st and we are handing out stockings to all the children filled with little things like toys, candy and toothbrushes donated by the North Haven Ladies Villages Improvement Society. We’ll also have turkeys and hams and everything they will need to create a lovely meal.

What’s one thing you’d like the community to know about the food pantry that they might otherwise not know?

We are receiving a lot of donations now, it seems to be a time of giving; but our donations tend to fall off after the New Year. We would like people to keep the food pantry in their minds through the year so we can continue to service all the needy families in our area. We try to put out as much publicity as possible in the newspaper and stay involved in many local activities. We just joined the Sag Harbor Chamber of Commerce and participated in Harborfest and the Halloween Parade this year.

Who is a typical volunteer and how do they get involved?

Well most of them are retired people because they have the time to do it because it’s during the week. They find it very fulfilling and gratifying. They feel like they are doing something special and needy for people who are in need. It gives them something to do and doing something wonderful. All the volunteers are fairly new, they came in the last five years. When directors changed and the hours changed, we got a new group of people.

Why did you take over as director?

I took over about a year ago, around Thanksgiving last year. I had been at the food pantry for a long time and when Lillian resigned, I had worked very closely with her ordering and organizing the food stuffs. I was probably the one that had the most information on what was going on. And I enjoy very much that I do. I love gathering the food and seeing how terrific it all looks on the table and where it all goes. It’s very rewarding. I volunteer about 20 hours a week picking up food, making contacts and ordering. I like doing that part of the job.

From Kitchen to Pantry: Tour Benefits the Hungry

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By Kathryn G. Menu

As the temperatures soar, yachts dock and families dust off their children’s pails and shovels to ready for another summer season at the beach, there are some 60 families in Sag Harbor with far more pressing needs than a new beach umbrella – namely, trying to figure out how to keep food on their tables.

This is where the Sag Harbor Community Food Pantry steps in.

For three years, the food pantry has held “Neighbors Helping Neighbors Kitchen Tour” to help maintain funding and provide Sag Harbor area residents with fresh vegetables, fruits, proteins and baked goods throughout the year.

 “This time of year, people are not necessarily in the mindset for giving,” said food pantry special events coordinator Regina Humanitzi this week, noting the tour enables the pantry to pay its estimated $700 to $800 weekly food bill until its annual fund drive at the start of the holiday season.

“Many are families with young children and the elderly,” said Humanitzi of the residents the pantry serves. “Those are our clients.”

The food pantry has operated out of the Sag Harbor Presbyterian (Old Whalers’) Church since 1987, and is staffed by 40 volunteers who hand out bushels of food to needy families each Tuesday. According to Humanitzi, the pantry currently serves some 800 local people and is committed to its mission of “Fresh is Better,” which ensures families receive fresh produce, fruit, bread, meat and dairy, rather than the standard food pantry offerings of canned goods.

In addition to a weekly shop, the pantry accepts food donations and is sponsored by a number of local businesses, including Bagel Buoy Market, Cappelletti Restaurant, Cavaniola’s Gourmet Cheese Ship, Cromer’s, Provisions, the Golden Pear and others. However, said Humanitzi, events like the Kitchen Tour are crucial to keeping the pantry stocked. Some 200 spectators are expected to attend this year’s event.

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For Judy and Rod Gilbert, whose Cliff Drive, Bay Point home is one of six kitchens featured on the tour, supporting a food pantry is not something unfamiliar. The couple is actively involved with the Saint Francis Food Pantry in Manhattan, and Rod, a retired Canadian professional hockey player, former New York Ranger and member of the Hockey Hall of Fame, lends his celebrity to events like Doodle for Hunger, an auction of original works of art by celebrities to benefit the pantry.

Judy, who personally designed the Bay Point home with a modern, eclectic, Asian flair, and a focus on textures – a business she started after retiring from a lauded career in advertising – immediately agreed to be a part of the tour after Humanitzi reached out following a visit to the residence during an open house.

The Gilbert’s home, and specifically their kitchen, overlooks scenic Noyac Bay, with a limestone patio and pool the only thing separating the main living spaces in the home from the spectacular view. The kitchen is modern in design with contemporary, European inspired pull-up cabinetry and a rectangular window running the length of the cooking area, which sheds light and color on the black and limestone colored décor.

Humanitzi said the Gilbert’s home adds a modern kitchen with a water view to the purposefully diverse slate of homes on the tour, which will also feature a green home on Gardiner’s Path in North Haven that has stainless steel appliances and hardware, Ceasar Stone countertops, energy efficient lighting and oak stained floors. A second North Haven home will offer patrons a glimpse at a party planner’s dream kitchen, with marble countertops, a pot filler faucet set over a professional Viking Stove, and pendant lamps illuminating a spacious island overlooking the family room and formal dining room. On High View Drive, kitchen tour patrons will be jetted off to Tuscany, with poured concrete countertops highlighting the Tuscan-inspired kitchen and home, complete with custom cabinetry matching the rest of the wood in the house – reclaimed from oak trees cleared from the property during the home’s construction.

Of course, it would not be a kitchen tour in Sag Harbor without the inclusion of two historic homes. On Suffolk Street, an all white galley kitchen adds contemporary flair to the residence from 1830, which is now restored. The kitchen overlooks an herb garden, and dining area adorned with a Moroccan chandelier. On Henry Street, a home from the 1840s, which was once the First Presbyterian Parsonage, is also on the tour.

And just as history is important to Sag Harbor, so is food to the governing body of the food pantry, which  has worked with local businesses to ensure patrons of the kitchen tour are treated to a full-fledged meal. Tournedos of filet on sourdough baguette finger sandwiches from Cromer’s Country Market, crab cakes supplied by Dock Side Restaurant, goat cheese and tomato tartlets from Cynthia Battaglia Caterer, an artisan cheese platter from Cavaniola’s Gourmet Cheese Shop, assorted quesadillas from Cilantro’s and award winning clam chowder from the Dock House Restaurant will be paired with wines from Channing Daughters, Wolffer Estate Vineyards, Long Wharf Wines and Spirits, and sparkling water and teas supplied by Sag Harbor Beverage.

But it is the Desert House, as Humanitzi calls it – at the Gilbert residence – which she is most excited for.

“Each of the volunteers for the food pantry has a favorite brownie recipe, so we have asked them to contribute,” she said this week. “We will have walnut brownies, coconut brownies, double chocolate brownies, peanut butter brownies and blondies. Some volunteers are making their favorite cookies, so it’s a real treat.”

The Sag Harbor Kitchen Tour will be held Saturday, June 5 from noon to 4 p.m. at a donation cost of $50.  For more information and to order tickets, call 725-7112 or 725-5066.

Evelyn Ramunno

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web Convo Ramunno

The newly appointed director of the Sag Harbor Food Pantry on the growing community the pantry serves, going green and the high price of cereal.

About how many visitors do you have at the food pantry?

We had about 75 today. That’s about average. We have less during the summer, but then there are more people who have work.

Are there more people coming now than when you started?

Oh yes, much more. We have started limiting patrons to just those from Sag Harbor. We had some coming from Bridgehampton and Hampton Bays, because they knew we were offering fresh food. That was very hard, because it’s very hard to refuse someone food.

When did you start at the food pantry?

It was about 1999.

What got you interested in volunteering?

I had just retired, and thought I might want to help out. I called the church one day and they said they needed volunteers. The church is great. They house so many different organizations. Since we don’t have a community center here it serves a great purpose.

How have things changed since you started?

When I started it was just one little closet, I could just about open my arms and reach from side to side. We were not open as much as we are now, it was an hour a night, a couple nights a week. Now we’ve graduated to Tuesday 10:30 in the morning to 1:30 in the afternoon. And we have much more space and are now offering fresh foods. We have

milk, eggs, cheese and butter, and one meat a week.

With the extra space, people we need to help can come in out of the cold if they have to wait. Sometimes we have some soup we can offer. And hot cocoa.

How many volunteers?

About 40 on a rotating basis.

What’s new?

Well, we acquired a new freezer and refrigerator. That allows us to keep more.

As the new director of the food pantry, are you planning on making any changes?

Not really; we’ll continue to do what we’ve been doing, offering fresh food. What we give out can take care of a family for two days. And on holidays we try to do something different. Coffee. Turkeys and hams. Bacon so they can have a nice breakfast on Christmas day.

And we’re trying to become more environmentally friendly. We want to phase out plastic and Styrofoam containers.

Also, we have a website, which is relatively new: www.sagharborfoodpantry.com. And email: info@sagharborfoodpantry.org

What does the food pantry need?

Anyone who has canvas shopping bags to donate, we can use them. We let people take them instead of plastic bags and they reuse them every week. We have a blue box outside for donations of non-perishable foods. We take everything, coffee, tea. Jelly. And they can send contributions to the food pantry at PO Box 1241, Sag Harbor.

Are there things people ask for?

Coffee and tea are quite special. Cookies and tuna fish. Cereal is hard to come by because it’s very expensive. Juices.

Do you do clothes?

We do. And we put those out on a table. We’ll do toys also. If it comes in, we’ll put it out. Nine times out of ten someone will pick it up.

Kitchen Tour Benefits Food Pantry

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Regina Humanitzki remembers planning a trip to California, a ride through the northern part of the state above San Francisco, and seeing a tour of kitchens being offered. It was the Sonoma Community Center and they wanted to build — appropriately enough — a kitchen in their center and decided to take visitors through several of the more interesting kitchens in the renowned wine country as a fund raiser.

Mrs. Humanitzki, who lives in a North Haven home fashioned as a lighthouse looking out over Sag Harbor, felt the idea could translate well here. And as a volunteer with the Sag Harbor Community Food Pantry, imagined a tour of kitchens — with a pinch of kitchen designers and a dash of specially prepared foods paired with wines — might well attract local foodies out of their early spring doldrums.

So, lined up next weekend are a half dozen local homeowners who are opening their houses to the curious cooks among us, showing off Sub Zero fridges and Viking stoves; granite counter tops, fireplaces and views of herb gardens and open water.

The tour will be a benefit for the food pantry, and comes at a crucial time.

“We thought it would be great when we need funds for this mid-year crisis,” said Mrs. Humanitzki.

This can be one of the toughest times at the food pantry, since those in need are often forgotten as the calendar moves further away from the holidays, when giving is usually the greatest. But, said Mrs. Humanitzki, the need frequently grows, especially for families with school-aged children who, as they break for summer vacation, no longer get the benefit of lunches at school.

Plus the demand of the food pantry has become greater. It serves about 70 families, up from about 30.

“The economic times are making it tougher on some families,” noted Mrs. Humanitzki., whose own home will be on the tour, which will be held on Saturday, May 31, from 12 noon to 4 p.m.

Inspired by the surroundings of the home’s site, the interior uses largely natural materials and colors, aside from several stainless steel surfaces. The windows look out over the harbor, the beach and a nature preserve, and the open plan brings the outdoors in.

It is a kitchen that is well-used and Mrs, Humanitzki, the mother of three who were teens all at the same time, said she frequently invited them into the kitchen to keep them busy. One son actually graduated from culinary school and is now a chef in New York City.

The kitchen features a semi-circular counter that separates the kitchen from the living and dining areas in this otherwise open floor plan. Topped with maroon and gray granite, as are most of the counters, it is faced in mahogany. The floors are Pennsylvania bluestone and the area at the foot of the work places has recesses where rubber floor mats make it easy on the chef’s feet.

“We wanted to use as many natural materials as we could,” said Mrs. Humanitzki.

The kitchen also features several niches that display the Humanitzkis’ collection of art from their travels, including Ethiopian processional crosses, a Cameroon musical bell, and a carved incense burner from Malaysia.

During the tour, guests are invited to sample a cup of hot clam chowder at the Humanitzki residence, donated by the Dock House, the winner of last year’s HarborFest chowder contest.


Each of the houses on the tour features a bite to eat, and at Susan Dusenberry’s house in North Haven, it’ll be tea sandwiches complements of caterer Tin Larsen.

The sandwiches will be served over an expansive view of the harbor in a home that now sits on the site of the historic Cook residence. The house that Susan and her husband Phil built, however, is only 10 years old, but is built with such attention to detail  and designed with such character that it feels like it has been a part of the landscape for decades, which is just how Susan wanted it.

“We wanted the house to feel that it had been added on to over the years,” she said. Like it had a history.

There are wide plank floors that had been pulled from a farm house in New England, and old wooden beams that give the young house some age.

In the kitchen, a breakfast nook looks out over an herb garden that was beginning to pop with colors last week. And just off the kitchen is an expansive screened in porch where guests can sit and watch as boats pass the breakwater in and out of the harbor.

The kitchen features a broad, granite-topped center island that includes its own sink — in addition to a farm sink on a nearby wall  — and provides ample prep area. Unique to this kitchen is a comfortable sitting area with a pair of overstuffed chairs, a small fireplace that faces toward the island, and a television that is hidden under the island’s counter.

 “We joked that we could comfortably live in the kitchen, it had everything we needed,” said Mrs. Dusenberry.


Standing in the kitchen of a house in West Banks, Lillian Woudsma, director of the Sag Harbor Community Food Pantry, explains the need for funds this time if year.

“People think of helping around Christmas and New Year,” said Mrs. Woudsma. “But people are hungry all year long.”

She said the need crosses many social and cultural lines, including age, and said they hope to provide for everyone who needs it, from the little child who doesn’t have a sandwich for lunch, to the 93-year-old woman who drives herself to the pantry each week.

“My mission is to feed people who need it,” she said, “fresh and wholesome food.”

The home in West Banks, which she and her husband John own, is designed for entertaining, with a grand entry and formal rooms that overlook a field at the rear of the house. Next week, they will be offering guests samplings of sliced filet mignon courtesy of Cromer’s Market.

The kitchen is a warm and inviting place, with pine cabinets and travertine floor the color of sand, intersected in a grid of old oak barnsiding custom cut for the house.

There is a large eat-in area, anchored at one end by a gas-fired “wood-burning” stove in deep blue enamel. The Wolf stove is set in an area surrounded by tile and topped with a pot-filler faucet in brushed nickel, as are the other faucets and fixtures.

The kitchen was designed by Robert Wolfram, who will be on hand to answer questions about kitchen design.


Mr. Wolfram’s own home in Sag Harbor will also be on the tour.

“I’m blessed with a wife that loves to cook,” said Mr. Wolfram, and “I was lucky to be able to build the dream kitchen for her.”

They took a 15-year-old conventional kitchen and turned it into a showpiece, and the room is warm and comfortable with knotty pine cabinets and a book case that gives it a living room feel.

The cabinets are outfitted with double layer cutlery drawers, and the backsplash is tumbled slate and the counters are granite. The dining area opens up to an outdoor deck overlooking a well-tended garden.

Guests of the Wolframs will enjoy a cheese tasting with strawberries paired with champagne.


Another designer will be on hand next weekend. Rich Raffel, who designed the kitchen for Nancy and Mitchell Berkens will be at their home in Sag Harbor to field questions about kitchen design. The Berkens’ kitchen offers a nautical setting on Sag Harbor Cove, and actually evokes a luxury yacht, its windows shaped like a ship’s prow. The green six-burner DCS stoves offers a colorful counterpoint to the wide-planked Brazilian cherry floors. And for parties, warming drawers are a real plus, and there is a separate pantry and bar with a specially designed circular shelving system to store and display the bar’s offerings. For the tour, guests can enjoy cup cakes courtesy of Kathy Burton.


The final kitchen on the tour will be that of Jonathan Morse, in a 19th Century village classic. Mr. Morse, who once produced a cooking show from his kitchen, is an ardent chef, whose culinary philosophy is “Simple dishes done well.”

Mr. Morse ripped up six layers of linoleum to expose the original wood floors during a renovation in 1986, and has kept the circa 1940s appliances. On display is a collection of Griswold and Wagner cast iron cookware.

Guests will enjoy a collection of deli treats from caterer Mike Mozzolino’s Culinary Experience.


Tickets for the tour, which will feature kitchens that are all professionally staged by Erin Jenkens of Hamptons Staging, Co., are $50 and are available by sending a check to the Sag Harbor Community Food Pantry, PO Box 1241, Sag Harbor, NY 11963. Tickets are also available at Long Wharf Wines, 12 Bay Street, Sag Harbor, or In Home, 132 Main Street, Sag Harbor.