by Ken Giustino
Throughout this pandemic many people have stepped up to help their fellow citizens. Dan Diviney, my brother-in-law, called me last week with a request. Danny has devoted his adult life to community service as a youth minister, running sports programs for Saint Hugh’s Church and running Project Hope; a community based food program…in 2012 he and his sister-in-law Mary pedaled bikes from Washington State to Long Island to raise money to support research for breast cancer and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer that had taken the life of his older brother Michael 25 years earlier. Dan and his wife Sue always lend a helping hand to my projects; the music festival, Lighthouse fundraising concerts, and the Montauk Seafood Festival that benefit the Friends of Erin and East Hampton Kiwanis Club.
Now, working with other community agencies, Dan has organized a system to distribute thousands of meals each week in his home town of Huntington. Needing help with the refrigeration and transport, he asked me if I could reach out to Manhattan Beer Distributors who supply my events with a beer products and refrigerated trailers. Using the trailer would help make their distribution operations go much smoother enabling them to more efficiently service the expanding needs of his community. Eager to lend a hand, I called Anthony Monaco, one of my contacts at Manhattan Beer Distributors, and ask him if it would be possible. He enthusiastically reached out to the corporate office and had an immediate answer of “Yes”! Two days later the refrigerator trailer is in use and helping their food operations run smoother.
Heroes emerge from among us in times of need and I think their presence gives us hope to persevere through all that’s thrown at us. Thank you Danny and his team for always stepping up in times of need.
The Project HOPE organization is 100% volunteer – it does not have any paid employees. In the past, Project HOPE would stock pantries through volunteers who shop, collect goods, deliver them to the pantry and sort them for subsequent distribution. This system, of course, is currently not possible and had to develop a new way to feed the hungry.
They are currently providing massive amounts of basic food (beans, rice, eggs and milk) to those most in need in our Huntington Station community which has been hit very hard by the pandemic. These “raw materials” are being sourced to them by a company called Whitson’s at price point equal to their cost. This is a significant discount and also keeps volunteers from having to shop to stock pantries.
Working with multiple trusted partners including the Helping Hands mission, Saint Hugh’s Parish Outreach, Tri-CYA, and Family Service League, they aim to reach the most desperate. In addition, they are in close collaboration with the Huntington Manor Fire Department and the Second Precinct to ensure orderly and safe distribution.
The approximate weekly costs and amount of product associated with the sourcing they are providing is a total of $15,000 for 2000 family packs. In addition, through a partnership with St. John’s Episcopal Church in Huntington, they are providing each week nearly 1000 simple, healthy bean-based meals and 150 dozen hard-boiled eggs to the homeless and those without cooking facilities through several organizations distributing food in the community.
Anyone interested in more information or want to help can do so by donating through the Project HOPE website at: www.projecthopeny.org.