The Angels of Long Island has been hosting no-contact drive-by food donations for anyone in need the last few weeks, but for its fifth event, the organizers got a lot of help from another set of angels — the Suffolk County chapter of the Hells Angels.
“The longer this takes Suffolk County to re-open, the more we’re here to help,” Debbie Loesch, founder of the Patchogue thrift store and outreach group, said. “The Hells Angels reached out to us and offered to help with crowd control and putting the heavier bags into people’s cars.”
On Sunday, May 31, cars began lining up outside the shop’s location at 350 East Main Street to receive bags of food and toiletries, baby items and pet food — which were all donated from families across Long Island. The line to get in went down into the village.
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“Our store has been closed since March, and although the store is nonessential, this organization is essential,” Loesch told GreaterPatchogue. “We are neighbors helping neighbors during this difficult time.”
The contactless drive ran smoothly, with members of several different motorcycle clubs monitoring the traffic and directing customers.
Some bikers helped put bags into trunks, while others walked with people who didn’t have a car. With all hands on deck, the event lasted two hours and helped over 350 families in that period of time.
“I want to say thank you to the motorcycle community for coming together to help Debbie and the Angels of Long Island,” said the sergeant of arms of the Suffolk County Hells Angels, who goes by Billy. “We all wanted to help anyone who’s been struggling during this difficult time.”
A dozen other nonprofits and small businesses donated their time to help the cause. The Patchogue Lions Club set up a BBQ at the end of the line to give everyone leaving a hot meal to go.
“We wanted to do a BBQ for the community and feed people today,” said Bob Silver, president of the Lions Club. “Usually we hold food drives throughout the year, but because of COVID, we haven’t been able to… so we decided to feed everyone here hot, fresh food.”
Brookhaven residents and beyond have relied on the Angels to make their days a little easier post-pandemic and during the stay at home orders. Brookhaven councilmen Neil Foley and Michael Loguercio, Jr. stopped by to show their support.
“There are thousands of people in Brookhaven who are struggling,” said Foley. “People can’t eat, they can’t dress their kids, and here we have hundreds of people helping out the community.”
“The angels of Long Island have come such a long way since we first met Debbie. We’re so happy to be here for her, and it’s wonderful to be helping people who may not be as fortunate as you or me,” Loguercio added.
Fresh pastries from Westhampton’s Beach Bakery were brought in, while sandwich lunches were made and packaged by Carrolls Kitchen LI to feed 1,300 people.
The Blue Point-based nonprofit was founded amidst the COVID-19 crisis to donate food and provide jobs to people in need. “We’re here to help people in need,” Ryan Carroll, founder of the group, said. “These are dark times for everyone… the world feels like it’s falling apart, and we’re trying to put it back together.”
Patch Print Ship & More owner James Diele-Stein came to support and donate coloring books, toys and ice pops to families with kids.
“We’re just trying to give back to the community,” he said. “Everyone needs a little bit of help.”