Photo: Denise Civiletti

Hope Day came to the East End for the first time yesterday.

The event, now in its fifth year, was held simultaneously at 19 sites across Long Island, NYC and New Jersey yesterday — including Amityville, Brentwood, Gordon Heights and Flanders. Hope Day a collaboration of multiple churches and local businesses to bring families together and build community with the objective of bringing hope to people and places that need it.

The Flanders-Riverside area is one such place and Truth Community Church on Bell Avenue took the lead to organize Hope Day there yesterday.

Hope Day offered games for the whole family, food, family photos, face-painting, haircuts, health and dental services and housing information — along with food and clothing distribution for those in need.

Truth Community Church Pastor Keith Indovino organized Hope Day in Flanders. He is pictured here with  his wife Amy. Photo: Denise Civiletti
Truth Community Church Pastor Keith Indovino organized Hope Day in Flanders. He is pictured here with his wife Amy. Photo: Denise Civiletti

And it was all free, thanks to the generous support of local businesses and churches, said Pastor Keith Indovino of Truth Community Church.

Ten churches and scores of businesses participated in the Flanders event, Indovino said. The Town of Southampton Youth Bureau, Flanders-Riverside- Northampton Community Association and Riverside Rediscovered were all very supportive, he said.

The “Kids Zone” featured inflatable play spaces — slides and bounce houses — and lots of games. Volunteers distributed free bagged lunches — 650 had been prepared — and doled out chili donated by One North.

“It’s great. We have free health checks and blood pressure screenings, haircuts and family portraits. There’s something for everyone,” Indovino said yesterday on the pop-up fairgrounds set up on Flanders Road between Bell Avenue and the Crohan Community Center. “On the way out, we’ll pray with you if you like and you can pick up a bag of groceries and some clothing, which was donated by Aeropostale,” he said.

Indovino, who’s been pastor at Truth Community for eight months, said he spread word about the event by canvassing the area door-to-door and distributing flyers.

“We’re really pleased with the turnout and we’ll be doing this again and hope to build on it next year,” the pastor said. “A lot of people have turned out to meet their neighbors and enjoy time with their families.”

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Denise is a veteran local reporter, editor, attorney and former Riverhead Town councilwoman. Her work has been recognized with numerous awards, including investigative reporting and writer of the year awards from the N.Y. Press Association. She is a founder, owner and co-publisher of this website.Email Denise.