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Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church

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Rotarian Glenn Frost loading donations into George Dubato’s truck. Photo by Kevin Mann

The Rocky Point Rotary Club recently held a “foodraiser” food drive at the Miller Place Stop and Shop to benefit of the food pantry at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rocky Point. The group managed to fill up the back of a pickup truck, an estimated 1,600 pounds of groceries.

“The community was very generous with its donations of non-perishable food,” wrote Kevin Mann, of the Rocky Point Rotary. “Food insecurity is a major issue for local families particularly due to COVID issues.”

Rocky Point Rotary, “the lil’ club that does,” meets every Tuesday via zoom. For further information about Rocky Point Rotary contact Kevin Mann at 631-470-6351 or [email protected]

Lori Presser, on left, will take over from Carol Moor, on right, as the new Invited In soup kitchen director at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rocky Point. Photo by Kyle Barr

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.”

Suffolk County Legislator Sarah Anker, on left, and the Rev. Bruce Kaifler, on right, honor Carol Moor, at center, following her decision to step down as director of Invited In soup kitchen at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Rocky Point. Photo from Suffolk County

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.

The fish church is undergoing renovations. Photo by Erika Karp

More than 10 years in the making and the plans to renovate Rocky Point’s Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church, known fondly as the fish church, are finally getting off the ground.

To signify the start of the massive, $1.5 million renovation to the parish hall, the church celebrated with a ground-breaking ceremony on June 14. Construction should begin in a week or so.

The original parish hall, located at the back of the church and constructed in 1972, will be mostly knocked down and replaced, with 83 percent of the hall going under new construction. The updated hall will offer large, flexible spaces that can be subdivided for multiple meetings, and high ceilings for indoor play and congregational activities.

A new roof and energy efficient windows will also be installed.

In addition, a second entrance will be constructed, which will eliminate congestion at the original entrance to the church, along with an improved kitchen and food pantry facility for the Invited INN Soup Kitchen that operates out of the church. Throughout the last 10 years, the congregation raised approximately $730,000 — almost half of the money — needed to fund the restorations.

“When I think of this new space, it’s not just designing a bigger space, it’s significant events that will take place,” Pastor Jeffrey Kolbo said. “I see support groups, bible studies, all benefiting from this new space.”

While the space is already used for Sunday school, youth programs and a meeting place for various organizations, Kolbo thinks additional community groups will be able to utilize it.

The current building is 6,658 square feet, and the addition will add 2,211 square feet. The new main room will seat approximately 200 people and will be about 3,000 square feet.

Carol Moor, who runs the Invited INN soup kitchen, is very excited about the new upgrades to the kitchen and pantry. She said the church has generously provided the space throughout the years.

“A new, more efficient and upgraded kitchen will be great, since we cook everything in-house, from scratch,” Moor said. “And a bigger space also means that we can now host more than one meal per week and feed more people in need.”

The soup kitchen currently feeds about 70 to 80 people. However, after the renovations, the space will be able to hold around 200 people. The updates will also provide additional storage space to hold food for the soup kitchen.