By Kyle Barr
After 27 years directing the Invited In soup kitchen, a program she helped create, Carol Moor feels she has reached the point to step down, yet it would be impossible for her to step out.
Every Thursday in the parish hall behind the Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rocky Point, Moor and a number of volunteers help feed close to 60 hungry mouths. Moor has overseen the kitchen through more than 75,000 total meals. She has worked to secure grants and donations so that the program can continue helping those in need.
“I thought maybe it was time to find a successor,” Moor said. “I’m still going to be involved, but I won’t be in charge. It would be impossible for me to step away completely — this has been my life.”
Invited In feeds people of low income and of all ages, as well as senior citizens who use the meal as a means of interacting with others when they normally don’t have the means to do so.
“I feel wonderful,” Moor said of the work she does. “To me it’s such a joy to be able to do this, and I’m very touched by the response of the guests.”
The volunteers have seen the project grow from the small kitchen and dining space of the old parish hall to a new renovated space with a larger kitchen and more elegant setup. The soup kitchen now boasts a rotating staff of close to 50 volunteers, who often include children from local schools helping set the tables before service begins.
“She truly has helped shape the identity of Trinity in terms of compassionate care for people in need,” said the Rev. Bruce Kaifler, a pastor at the church. “She has led with such compassion that it has set the tone for what is outreach for the church. That is what has lent itself to the long-term success of the program.”
Moor’s replacement, Lori Presser, has been with the soup kitchen for five years and said she’s excited to take the reins.
The former director’s “biggest strength is she can understand what everybody needs,” Presser said of Moor. “You can’t imagine the wealth of knowledge that Carol has in here — its connections, it’s the way she treats people, it’s her organizational skills, it’s everything.”
“She truly has helped shape the identity of Trinity in terms of compassionate care for people in need.”
— Rev. Bruce Kaifler
Moor said she believes Presser will help take the program into the future.
“She’s really, really capable, she’s already brought new ideas and new energy,” Moor said. “When you’ve done something for this long you kind of let it keep going the way it is — it needs growth and change because the world changes.”
Kaifler said Presser’s transition will be easy.
“She was thoughtfully considered and elected,” he said. “She has shown to be such a beautiful continuation of Carol’s primary principles of kindness, compassion and respect.”
Invited In tries to maintain its inviting atmosphere not just in ambiance but in the food that’s served, keeping the meals whole, hearty and traditional. Recently the soup kitchen served beef enchilada casserole. It was a slight deviation from the usual chicken, pasta or meatloaf.
“These are hot meals, and there are not a lot of organizations that provide hot meals,” said Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker (D-Mount Sinai), who honored Moor with a proclamation for her nearly three decades of service. “Carol has just been an angel in what she’s been able to provide to so many people.”
Invited In soup kitchen services are held at 5 p.m. every Thursday at 716 Route 25A in Rocky Point. The nonprofit accepts donations in person, through the mail or online at www.invitedin.org.