Cars were lined up on Columbus Avenue and along Pulaski Street before the food distribution even got underway today at 1 p.m. at Stotzky Park. Photo: Denise Civiletti

Hundreds of people turned out for the Island Harvest food distribution hosted by the Town of Riverhead at Stotzky Park this afternoon. Supplies of food ran out in just over an hour, forcing police to turn back vehicles still lined up on Pulaski Street, waiting to get into the park.

At the start of the distribution at 1 p.m., vehicles stretched along Columbus Avenue and east on Pulaski Street to North Griffing Avenue — a distance of about a mile.

In addition to people who drove up for the distribution, people on foot lined up in the parking lot off Columbus Avenue, where several distribution stations were set up.

A little boy on a bicycle was among the people in line to receive food from Island Harvest today in Riverhead. Photo: Denise Civiletti

More than 40 volunteers from the community, town government and elected officials joined representatives of Suffolk County SPCA and Island Harvest to distribute the food. Island Harvest said it distributed approximately 10,000 pounds of food, including frozen meat, fresh produce, and pre-packaged meal kits. The meal kits contain two breakfasts, two lunches, and two dinners, and support two people for two days. In all, the food distributed is expected to supplement approximately 8,300 meals, the organization said. 

The supplies ran out at about 2:20 p.m.

“It shows you just how great the need is,” said Rep. Lee Zeldin, who was helping to distribute food.

Riverhead Supervisor Yvette Aguiar, Councilwoman Catherine Kent, Councilman Frank Beyrodt and County Legislator Bridget Fleming were also on hand to help.

Riverhead Police Lt. David Lessard said an estimated 250 people were served in today’s distribution — and an equal number were turned away.

Island Harvest is raising money for a COVID-19 emergency response fund. For more information and to donate, click here.

RiverheadLOCAL photos by Denise Civiletti

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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.