CAST Closes on Southold Opera House

Community Action Southold Town, Inc. (CAST) announced Sept. 15 that it has closed on the purchase of its new home in Southold due to the generous support from members of the community for CAST’s Build What Matters capital campaign.

CAST reported that, to date, the organization has raised $2.2 million, nearly 75 percent of its $3 million capital campaign goal, and hopes to raise the remaining 25 percent in the next year. A portion of the funds raised include a grant from New York’s Empire State Economic Development Fund.

This initial fundraising has allowed CAST to close on the purchase of the former Southold Methodist Church, renovated as the former Southold Opera House, which will become the agency’s new home, providing essential services including a food pantry, clothing distribution, assistance with housing and heating, and educational and vocational programs for kids and adults.

CAST provides services for nearly 10 percent of the residents of Southold Town, “including seniors and many hard-working families that are the invisible thread that keep the North Fork together,” according to the agency, which has been serving Southold residents since 1965.

The agency had long been in Greenport Village, which has historically been home to the majority of CAST’s clients, but as the village has become more gentrified in recent years, 52 percent of CAST’s clients now live outside of Greenport, mostly to the west. The need for CAST’s services, particularly the food pantry, have also soared during the pandemic.

CAST will still be able to have a presence in Greenport Village thanks to a mobile food pantry van and an agreement with Most Holy Trinity Episcopal Church on Main Street in Greenport.

“CAST’s new home is located within the business hamlet in the heart of Southold Town, offering easier access to more residents and plentiful parking,” according to a press release from CAST. “Within the new space, CAST will be able to offer a larger client choice food pantry and sharing room for clothing and household items, more room for essential education programs for both children and adults, private meeting/interview spaces, a teaching kitchen for culinary and hospitality training, a community garden to grow fresh food, as well as arts and cultural programs. CAST’s new home represents the next phase of growth for the nonprofit which plans to reopen its doors as the Center for Advocacy, Support & Transformation.”

“Signing the papers to close on the former Southold Opera House is a dream realized. We are so grateful for the generous support from the members of the community, who dedicate their time and resources every day to make our community a better place to live,” said CAST Board President Marc Sokol.

“CAST’s mission of providing for the essential needs, and promoting self-sufficiency, for the vulnerable populations of the North Fork achieves life changing value and impact for all of us who live, work, or travel to the North Fork,” said CAST donor Lisa A. Grattan, a 1982 graduate of Mattituck High School. “CAST protects and promotes our unique and treasured natural resource — a compassionate and active community.”

“We have so many people to thank, from our board, donors, volunteers and staff who have kindly and thoughtfully invested in our common vision of making CAST a safety net and trusted resource center for those in need across the North Fork, now and for generations to come,” said CAST Executive Director Cathy Demeroto. “We anticipate raising the remaining 25 percent in the near future and look forward to using all of our resources to transform people’s lives by providing services they need to achieve self-sufficiency and opportunities for advancement to improve individual, family and community well-being.”

Donations can be made online at Build What Matters Capital Campaign – Community Action Southold Town (castsoutholdtown.org) or by mail with checks made payable to the CAST Capital Campaign. Mail to Cathy A. Demeroto, Build What Matters Campaign, P.O. Box 159, Greenport, NY 11944.

“We look forward to welcoming all of our neighbors and friends into our new home with hopes that it will truly be a meeting place and resource center for the entire community. Whether people come for services, to volunteer, take a class, or enjoy a musical performance, our doors will always be open to all,” said Ms. Demeroto.

Beth Young

Beth Young has been covering the East End since the 1990s. In her spare time, she runs around the block, tinkers with bicycles, tries not to drown in the Peconic Bay and hopes to grow the perfect tomato. You can send her a message at editor@eastendbeacon.com

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