By Kyle Barr
It might be the spirit of giving, or perhaps the lingering essense of Scrooge’s final transformation, but Theatre Three’s latest food drive of the year may have been their biggest one yet.
Even with Theatre Three having been effectively shut down because of COVID, its board members, staff and volunteers have continued to work to better the community. The group gathered food and other assorted items for the Open Cupboard Food Pantry out of the Infant Jesus R.C. Church in Port Jefferson Dec. 12. Their efforts stuffed the theater van plus a Toyota 4Runner with food a total of four times in just a few short hours. Well over 100 cars showed up, despite the rain, to offer the theater what they could.
For the holiday season, the group also hosted a toy drive, in which families from all over gave some pretty significant items.
“The toys, they were good quality toys — Star Wars, LEGOs, good stuff,” said Brian Hoerger, a board member and facilities manager for Theatre Three. Hoerger helped start the string of food drives this year after the beginning of the pandemic, when he and other community members donated 15 iPads to local hospitals. Those devices were desperately needed at the pandemic’s height, when patients needed them to communicate with family members no longer allowed inside hospital rooms.
Though this is the sixth food drive held through Theatre Three, this latest effort ended the year with a bang.
“There was a lot of stuff today — we’re very happy,” said Theatre Three’s Executive Director Jeffrey Sanzel. “This was one of our most successful drives since the first one.”
The drive also gained over $900 in cash donations plus nearly $600 worth of gift cards. The day’s efforts were so successful that Hoerger held a second drive the following day for all the persons who could not come out on Saturday. The Theatre Three facility manager used some of the cash funds to purchase additional food for Open Cupboard.
Updated: The group will host another food drive on Saturday, January 23 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. outside Theatre Three. For more information, call 631-938-6464.