Ecumenical Lay Council Food Pantry
Significant pockets of poverty dot this otherwise relatively well-to-do area of Long Island. The Northport/East Northport Food Pantry is one of several outreach programs of the Ecumenical Lay Council (ELC), a 501(c)3 public charity. Founded by the late Betty Lockwood, a longtime member of St. Paul’s, the ELC is an interfaith network of clergy and laypersons dedicated to meeting the needs of our less fortunate neighbors.
Between 100 and 150 families each week receive assistance from the Food Pantry, located at the First Presbyterian Church, up the street from St. Paul’s. Local businesses, community organizations, school groups, and members of ELC’s faith-based member congregations supply the vast majority of the resources. State and Federal food banks, as well as the food bank cooperative L.I. Cares (www.licares.org), account for the balance of the support needed. Since its founding in 1950 the Food Pantry has never had to turn away a family in need, thanks to the concern and generosity of so many in the community. Food and supplies are available to all who ask. St. Paul’s energetically joins in the commitment to continue this tradition through our collection bins, food drives, donations including store food cards for perishable items, and volunteering.
Other programs coordinated by volunteers through the ELC include Soles4Souls, a collaboration with the Northport-East Northport Rotary Club and various Huntington-based businesses, the purpose of which is to collect donations of shoes each March for the financially distressed; and Adopt A Family, which annually helps some 100 families with children from local school districts to provide gifts to their children at Christmas. The ELC also represents the religious community on the area’s Drug and Alcohol Task Force, and it sponsors the annual Easter Dawn Celebration in Northport Village Park, a 30-minute service open to all and led by pastors of the ELC’s member congregations.