Special food delivery just in time for Christmas

Published 7:14 pm Thursday, December 23, 2021

Suffolk Sheriff’s Deputy Sandy Toby sat in her car between the North Main Street Walmart and Lowe’s coordinating the deliveries of Christmas food baskets to needy families.

Toby, president of the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 41, was familiar with all of the families on the list — their struggles and their needs.

“A lot of the families are connected to social services,” Toby said, “and then some of them are not. They’re my civil process folks (sheriff’s deputies deliver court-related documents to people who face pending legal action). They all have zones and they all know who in their sections really needs help.”

Lodge 41 director Allan Iversen, who was also helping with the deliveries, had been in Toby’s shoes previously and is also familiar with the needs of families in the community.

Iversen said when they started providing food baskets 25 years ago, they gave them out at Thanksgiving, but with a number of other groups providing food on that holiday and having a harder time finding families who needed it at that time, they shifted to providing food to needy families around Christmas.

“We’ve been doing Christmas for a good 20-plus years,” Iversen said. “And you have the toy drives that are going on, you have the Salvation Army that is going on, but it seems like at Christmas time, it’s a little bit colder and there’s a lot more need.”

And that’s where Lodge 41 continues to try and fill in, even though it only distributed 10 food baskets this year, as compared to 25 last year.

“It’s very satisfying, and we had another family we were thinking about (giving) a food basket, and she was like, ‘No, give it to someone who could use it.’ They’re not offended by us asking them for another year, but they’re like, ‘Give it to someone else.’”

That same woman, he said, had been going through a rough time last year, but her situation had improved markedly, Iversen said, to the point where she offered to donate money to Lodge 41 to help with the food baskets.

Iversen said they hope to be able to provide more in the coming years as fundraising improves, but they are glad to be able to do what they can to help make the holidays of struggling families a little easier.

“The ones we give to, we try to make sure every year they are for those that truly need it,” Iversen said.