Parish social ministry programs throughout the Diocese of Rockville Centre are seeing a significant rise in the number of people seeking assistance as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take its toll on human life and the global economy. In Long Beach, an area especially hit hard by the health crisis, the soup kitchen operated out of St. Mary of the Isle Church is serving late-morning grab-and-go meals Monday through Friday to nearly 60 people each day, which is about double the number served prior to the pandemic. The Beach Catholic Outreach Program, a collaboration of the barrier island’s three parishes (St. Mary’s, Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal and St. Ignatius Martyr), has managed to meet the demand, according to its director Tim Murphy. He credits the support of parishioners, area restaurants and food stores, and the St. Vincent de Paul Society with keeping the pantry, meal program and other social services running relatively smoothly. “People have been so generous,” said Murphy, who also praised the program’s volunteers who are working hard to compensate for colleagues that have elected to remain home during the crisis. “They’ve stepped in and have done a great job,” he said.  Photos of Beach Catholic Outreach Program, May 13, 2020.

Photos by Gregory A. Shemitz