National Grid employees distributed food to needy families at North Fork Spanish Apostolate on Nov. 18. Photo: Alek Lewis

The North Fork Spanish Apostolate partnered with National Grid and Northwell Health on Thursday to give food and flu shots to needy families ahead of the holiday season.

Around 130 families received food, which included either a turkey, ham or chicken and a bag filled with non-perishable foods like mashed potato mix, gravy, macaroni and cheese, rice and beans. They also received a box of cake or brownie mix to make a dessert. The food was distributed by volunteer National Grid employees. 

“We wanted to come out here because we know there’s many families in need more now than ever and we’re happy to be out here,” said Kathleen Wisnewski, National Grid’s director of customer and community engagement. This is the second collaboration of it’s kind with the North Fork Spanish Apostolate and is also part of a National Grid initiative called Project C, she said.

Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski stopped in around the start of the event to donate fall harvest vegetables grown on his farm.

“This is all about people helping people. A kind gesture goes a long way in today’s weary world,” Krupski said.

Northwell Health distributed 44 flu shots during the event, according to Edgar Cerna, Northwell Health’s regional director for community outreach.

“Part of us being here is furthering our health equity mission,” Cerna said. “The community population health team with Northwell is very focused on partnership and collaborating with local institutions and local partners to make sure that these communities in high need have access to the services that they often lack access to.”

Northwell Health, which operates Peconic Bay Medical Center, also had a table on site that provided information on cancer screenings and OLA of Eastern Long Island, a Latino immigrant advocacy group, to help translate for Hispanic members of the community and promote resources for rental assistance and NY Project Hope.

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Alek Lewis is a lifelong Riverhead resident and a 2021 graduate of Stony Brook University’s School of Communication and Journalism. Previously, he served as news editor of Stony Brook’s student newspaper, The Statesman, and was a member of the campus’s chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. Email: [email protected]