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Apr 15, 2009 11:04 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Southampton Tire soup kitchen can reopen

Apr 15, 2009 11:04 AM

The Sisters of Mercy will be allowed to reopen their makeshift soup kitchen at Southampton Tire Center later this week, according to Southampton Village Mayor Mark Epley.

Mayor Epley said Tuesday morning that Jonathan Foster, the village’s chief building inspector, decided to overturn another building inspector’s decision that had put an end to the free lunch line for day laborers at Southampton Tire.

The soup kitchen was shut down on April 1. Village Building Inspector Christopher Talbot said he called in village ordinance inspectors that day to go to Southampton Tire with him to inform Southampton Tire owners Carol and Albert Whitby that it was a violation of the village zoning code to serve food at their tire store, because it is not an eating establishment. A Southampton Village Police sergeant had accompanied the ordinance inspectors and Mr. Talbot as well.

Mayor Epley said Mr. Foster ruled this week that the soup kitchen, which Ms. Whitby was running with the help of the Sisters of Mercy from Water Mill, falls under a philanthropic/non-profit use in the zoning code, so it was not a violation.

According to the village code, a highway business, such as Southampton Tire, needs a special exception permit to become an eating establishment. But the code also states that a “philanthropic, fraternal, social or educational institutional office or meeting room, nonprofit” is a permitted use of an establishment in the highway business zone.

“I’m happy,” Ms. Whitby said Tuesday afternoon, having just learned of the Building Department’s reversal. “They made us look like we were breaking the law, and we weren’t.”

Ms. Whitby said she has not had time to start thinking about how soon she and the Sisters of Mercy would restart their soup kitchen.

The mayor warned that Mr. Foster’s decision, which he said was made with the counsel of Village Attorney Richard DePetris, does not prevent the Suffolk County Board of Health from enforcing food-handling regulations at Southampton Tire.

At the Southampton Village Board’s monthly meeting on Thursday night, April 9, a small crowd of soup kitchen proponents voiced their support for the Whitbys and Sisters of Mercy.

“I wish I didn’t have to come here tonight, but I felt compelled to,” Dianne Rulnick, a former co-chair of the Southampton Town Anti-Bias Task Force, told the Village Board. She said that critics of the efforts of the Sisters of Mercy are “absolute racists.”

Most, if not all, of the day laborers who the Sisters of Mercy have helped are Latinos, and said to be living in the United States illegally.

“I was always taught that our Lord thought that we should always be our brother’s keeper,” said Lydia Ritchie of Southampton.

“The guys are here—they’re part of the community,” added David D’Agostino, also of Southampton. “We have to get used to it.”

Dr. Bob Zellner of North Sea said he has lectured all over the country about the progress that Southampton Town and Southampton Village have made when it comes to race relations. He said he was embarrassed to learn that the village had shut down the soup kitchen.

“I have a lot of experience with actions of this type, but mostly in the South,” said Dr. Zellner, an activist who played an active role in the civil rights movement of the 1960s and is the author of “The Wrong Side of Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement.”

Mayor Epley said Monday that, as mayor, he does not have the authority to overturn a building inspector’s decision. He said only the chief building inspector can do that.

“Although I have oversight and the Village Board has oversight over the department, we don’t have the authority to go in and change the decision of a public official like that,” the mayor said.

He added that he would have liked to have known ahead of time that the Building Department was planning to close the soup kitchen. “It should have been brought to everyone’s attention,” the mayor said. “We should have had a discussion with the village attorney on this.”

Even before Mr. Foster rendered his decision, Village Board member Paul Robinson unequivocally said he did not think the Whitbys had broken any law. “Al and Carol Whitby did something very charitable and humanitarian,” he said.

“No matter how you feel about the immigration piece, whether you’re pro or anti, it doesn’t matter,” Mayor Epley agreed. “What matters is what the Sisters were doing there is helping hungry people.”

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Yeah! Good prevails!
By haj80 (11), Chapel Hill on Apr 14, 09 1:22 PM
That's wonderful.... The Whtbys are good people!
By AnonymousSgh (183), Sag Harbor on Apr 14, 09 1:25 PM
Thank you, Mayor Epley for not criminalizing an act of kindness.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Apr 14, 09 1:26 PM
Thanks Mayor Epley. In the words of Rabbi Isreal Salanter, "Most men worry about their own bellies and other people's souls, when we all ought to worry about our own souls and other peoples bellies."
By number19 (111), Westhampton on Apr 14, 09 1:41 PM
Kudos to Mayor Epley for instituting some show of humanity into this town!
By ijkL (2), southampton on Apr 14, 09 1:57 PM
Suffolk county board of health will never let this happen for saftey reasons and now the mayor thinks hes gonna look good knowing all along that its never gonna get threw suffolk county..
By SESMOMOF2 (21), SOUTHAMPTON on Apr 14, 09 3:53 PM
That's great news! Can you feed their families too? That would save on food stamps. Can you educate their children in Catholic schools? That would save on my property taxes. How about opening up a nice hospital or clinic for them? That would probably save me from having to pay extra health insurance to cover them. I wouldn't ask but I'm just a year round poor working stiff that does my own landscaping and can't afford to go out to eat. In fact, I'm just barely hanging on. If my job gets ...more
By darwin (47), southampton on Apr 14, 09 4:01 PM
The right thing to do.
By Lefty46 (56), Westhampton on Apr 14, 09 4:28 PM
darwin - If things are so tough for you, I'm sure the Sisters & the Witbys would be happy to feed you too.
By Agawam Yacht Club (69), Southampton on Apr 14, 09 4:46 PM
This a trap for the Illegals. ICE will be there waiting to pounce I am sure.

By C Law (354), Water Mill on Apr 14, 09 5:21 PM
By pinga (90), hamptonbays on Apr 14, 09 6:44 PM
What are the good Sisters trying to do,did anyone tell them that there is a network of food pantries up and running at several locations through out the Town of Southampton,I know because I donate food to help to feed the hungry among us,if the day labourers or their family members were to visit a food pantery in their area they would receive food and berhaps the Sisters could provide the brown bags,then the workers could leave home in the morning with lunch ,can you imagine how more degnafied ...more
By Tianard (6), Hampton Bays on Apr 14, 09 7:27 PM

Any idea when or if a soup kitchen will become available at the Westhampton 7-11 for these men? At 9 a.m Monday I seen well over a hundred men waiting to be hired. Are bathrooms advailable at these sights? If a soup kitchen t is being done in Southampton why not Westhampton. Same situation.

Dont ask me to get involved I'm too old and my property taxes keep me on a tight budget.........just a suggestion.......
Carol, East Quogue
By Carol (109), East Quogue on Apr 14, 09 7:57 PM

Any idea when or if a soup kitchen will become available at the Westhampton 7-11 for these men? At 9 a.m Monday I seen well over a hundred men waiting to be hired. Are bathrooms advailable at these sights? If a soup kitchen t is being done in Southampton why not Westhampton. Same situation.

Dont ask me to get involved I'm too old and my property taxes keep me on a tight budget.........just a suggestion.......
Carol, East Quogue
By Carol (109), East Quogue on Apr 14, 09 8:02 PM
How do you figure your property taxes have ANYTHING to do with Catholic Schools?
By Terry (380), Southampton on Apr 15, 09 8:06 AM
good intentions will always prevail. As for all of you that things they are without work because of illegal maybe its time for you guys to go to the farms I heard on TV )news12) they are desperate needing people. So go there and get a job.
By SHcitizen (10), Southampton on Apr 15, 09 8:28 AM
why desnt the illegals go to the farms to "get a job" like you say, instead of committing crimes and complaining about their situations. The illegals created their own situations and have to take the consequences of them. When the came here illegally they knew the consequences and that things that may not go their way. So illegals suck it up and deal with it or go back home.
By OrignialLocal (34), Southampton on Apr 15, 09 9:44 AM
im going to go down there for a free meal too, i could use one. Matter of fact ANYONE that needs a free meal should go there and ask. If they deny you, then thats biased and you could have a lawsuit.
By OrignialLocal (34), Southampton on Apr 15, 09 9:46 AM
Terry, Catholic schools are not funded by property or any public taxes. That 's what Darwin is referring to. Only the bus service is provided for by school taxes.
By squeaky (291), hampton bays on Apr 15, 09 11:00 AM
Congratulations to the Whitbys for their good works.
By quogue (12), southampton on Apr 15, 09 1:09 PM
once dennis schmidt hear's about this, it'll be closed. he sells soup too.
By hamptons surfer (79), southampton on Apr 15, 09 2:51 PM
OrignialLocal, I am sure they would feed even you. By the way, I believe it is spelled "o-r-i-g-i-n-a-l"
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Apr 15, 09 3:30 PM
The illegal aliens and their aiders and abettors are in violation of YAHWEH's Word. the Bible.
By Melchizeder (3), Hampton Bays on Apr 15, 09 4:01 PM
reaaaalllllly, I did not know that. *s-a-r-c-a-s-m*..... Once I made the name I could not change it. it's a simple 'n' beore 'i' mistake, so calm down.
By OrignialLocal (34), Southampton on Apr 15, 09 4:02 PM
Ok here is my plan. On Cinco de Mayo, we all go to SH Tire for lunch. I am also on a very tight budget. No joke, so I feel entitled to their generosity. I really hope that we wouldn't get food poisioning or God forbid ,trip and fall on that property.( Tires for life, not a bad thing.) Or better yet I could give up on lottery and just sue the pants off all involved.* Sarcasm once again for those of you who missed it* or is it?
By squeaky (291), hampton bays on Apr 15, 09 4:35 PM
just wait until McDonalds starts giving away tires
By eastender09 (29), southampton on Apr 15, 09 5:29 PM
how do we know that the people feeding on free lunch are here illegally?

can anyone make a proper statement or argument? (refrain from using "I" or "I believe" or "I think") Try fact only style...

p.s. this website is slow as balls (subjected to constantly increasing friction)
By dogfacejones (81), Southampton on Apr 15, 09 9:02 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By deme más (3), southampton on Apr 16, 09 1:43 AM
Southampton Tires is so overpriced and such a rip off that its about time they started giving customers free meals with every rip off job they do.....
By SESMOMOF2 (21), SOUTHAMPTON on Apr 16, 09 7:12 AM
As long as they use their own money- (not our tax dollars!!)
i think they should feed whomever they choose.

Will it attract more illegals? - of course it will!!
just what we need.
unfortunate that most are most likely here illegally and have more rights and free lawyers than u.s. citizens- so what an interesting turn of events if someone got sick and SUED.
By eve (2), hampton bays on Apr 16, 09 8:08 AM
You know, it's not a good idea to feed the wild deer either for almost the same reason.
By darwin (47), southampton on Apr 16, 09 10:16 AM
I still wish someone would tell me where all these men go to the bathroom while waiting to be hired? I had new roofs put on last week. The first day there were 15 Latino's workers and the second day 8 Latino workers. I'm sure all were legal. Aside from the boss only one spoke a small amount English that he learned from his children. He said after working from dawn to dusk their is very little time to go to the English classes to learn. There was no porta potty on the job and they didnt' use ...more
By Carol (109), East Quogue on Apr 16, 09 10:57 AM
Anywhere the want to Carol, they seem to be above the law...
By squeaky (291), hampton bays on Apr 16, 09 1:14 PM
Carol in East Quogue , 2 questions for you :

1. How did you know the workers on your roof were legal ?

2. Why the weird interest in their toilet habits ? LOL !
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Apr 16, 09 1:44 PM
I noticed the 7-11 has porto pottys out back and I asume its to keep them from peeing all over.
By SESMOMOF2 (21), SOUTHAMPTON on Apr 16, 09 2:05 PM
I really don’t understand the hatred and the nastiness, God Bless the Whitbys some of you need a little refresher, this being the Easter Season... from the book of Mathew Chapter 25 verses 35 - 40

34 Then shall the King say unto them on His right hand, `Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.

35 For I hungered, and ye gave Me meat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink; I was a stranger, and ye took Me in;
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Apr 16, 09 3:51 PM
Good, all you holy people can take them all in and feed them and cloth them and educate them. Just don't lay this burden on the rest of us because we don't have your resources, and they are hurting us. And we want to keep our country sovereign, not open its borders to the rest of the world. Isn't that what our vets fought and died for? Shouldn't our citizenship have some meaning? Oh, and the crosses and nooses? Come on, don't play those old cards.
By darwin (47), southampton on Apr 16, 09 4:01 PM
Right on , Darwin. These liberals should go down to Mexico and see if the Mexicans will feed them if they're hungary.
By PrivateerMatt (390), Weesuck Creek , EQ on Apr 16, 09 4:22 PM
Hey, Darwin - EVOLVE.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Apr 16, 09 4:36 PM
pstevens, the hatred and nastiness stems from overwhelming ignorance. It is amazing how many people speak without having an idea what they're saying. These are people who have failed in their own lives or been treated poorly by others and so they look for an outlet. Time and time again throughout American and world history the outlet for these people has always been the immigrant - the "outsider". They will never be silenced because they are not interested in improving themselves or the world, ...more
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Apr 16, 09 8:05 PM
Reply to Privateer Matt. Answers to question no. 1. How did I feel that I thought the Latino workers were legal. on my roofing job. You are right. I could not of known for sure. I understand one does not have the right to ask if one is legal or not. I don't even believe the police have the right to ask. They were so efficient that I just figured they have been doing this type of work for several years for the local roofer we hired. I could not belive they were just picked up at a hiring ...more
By Carol (109), East Quogue on Apr 16, 09 8:06 PM
Ok I think I've seen enough ignorance around this posts. I still can not believe the amount of hatred posted on these boards over an issue (the free lunch) that is not costing anyone anything, it is a group of people and god bless them which have a great heart that are doing it. They are not asking for tax dollars or for your cooperation to those who do not want to so get off their back. I for one wish that I could help more, but at the very least will support their business whenever I need tires.
There ...more
By HBresident (24), Hampton Bays on Apr 16, 09 9:34 PM
Ignorant people, maybe you need help, I believe is very possible to start a new school for all morons like eve or squakey. I will find out when they are giving out food and I am planning to be there to help them out and if anybody wants to be funny try me. I am fed up with this BS, learn and don't make us citizens of the United States look like you, because I am pretty sure that if foreign countries hear you then they would think all of us are like you. As for people like carol hiring people ...more
By SHcitizen (10), Southampton on Apr 17, 09 10:07 AM
Faceless, congratulations on being able to use internet translation software, but it does not change the face that your anger is misguided and based in ignorance and racism. I love how you and the other bigots assume that every one of these guys are working without papers. Why don't you spend your time productively and focus your hate on the banks and wall street. They've done more to destroy your life than any immigrant ever could.

What Tom Wedell is doing has nothing to do with principles. ...more
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Apr 18, 09 4:16 PM
Thank you faceless for the defense. peoplefirst yes those so called innocent people do hurt us. All of us with someone in the construction trade. We have the mortgages to pay and taxes to pay. While you will blame Wall st bankers, we are all responsible. This country has overspent for decades and now its time to pay. Now what should be cut? How about food stamps for healthy capable adults? Welfare? Well, where are people going to work? If someone employs 2 illegals for the price of one American ...more
By squeaky (291), hampton bays on Apr 18, 09 6:05 PM
What can I do to help get this soup kitchen up and running. I was horrified to hear it was closed.

Here's my post to the previous article about the closing.

" I am profoundly and deeply saddened by the comments on this story. Our country was founded by immigrants. "We the People" includes Europeans, like myself, Asians, South Americans, Middle Easterners. Our ancestors all started on the bottom rung if they came to the US without an education or without money.

When ...more
By vanlexi (8), Southampton on Apr 18, 09 9:27 PM
Our country has seen some difficult times recently. If anyone reading this comment string is hungry, please put pride aside and seek out a meal that someone has labored over to make sure that YOUR belly is full before you go to bed tonight. Please don't be critical of someone taking a free meal and don't be ashamed in taking one yourself. These are hard times.
By vanlexi (8), Southampton on Apr 18, 09 9:30 PM
Faceless, you and Tom Wedell (and I have gone up to him personally and told him to his face exactly what I think) and your fellow minutemen racists are remnants of an old way of thinking. Those around you are becoming enlightened and liberated while you desperately attempt to cling to neocon ideologies that a vast majority of Americans have rejected. You are frightened and alone. But you must adapt or be left behind. Good luck.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Apr 19, 09 3:45 PM
Faceless, glad to see you're not through responding to my comments as I had a point I forgot to make last time: Very soon now 12 million immigrants will be granted a path to citizenship, this reflects the wants of the nation as proved in a recent gallup poll which found that,

"Tthe majority of Americans, 59%, support the government allowing illegal immigrants to remain in this country and eventually become U.S. citizens if they meet certain requirements. Fifteen percent of Americans support ...more
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Apr 20, 09 11:55 AM
First off, how are we going to support all of these people who come here without legal papers when the jobs are all gone? Who will feed them, who will house them? They are living in the woods, now. Will you build housing for them in your neighborhoods or do you want to shuttle them off to Hampton Bays or Flanders? Will you check off the box on your Fed Tax return that says, "Yes, I want to pay an extra $1000 to support people that are here to take jobs Americans won't do". (yeah, I know that ...more
By darwin (47), southampton on Apr 20, 09 2:02 PM
Darwin, I thought I had heard every nonsensical, baseless, ludicrous argument made on this issue, and then I read your post.
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Apr 20, 09 3:15 PM
Faceless, let me give you some updated info. Gallup poll, 2009 as follows:

"Top Priorities for 2009: percent rating each a top priority 1. Economy 85% 2. jobs 82% 3. Terrorism 76% 4. social security 63% 5. education 61% 6. energy 60% 7. medicare 60% 8. healthcare 59% 9. deficit reduction 53% 10. health 52% insurance 50% 11. helping the poor 46% 12. crime 45% 13. moral decline 45% 14. military 44% 15. tax cuts 43% 16. environment 41% 17. immigration 41%"

Now, ...more
By peoplefirst (787), Southampton on Apr 21, 09 8:30 AM
I have attended a number of immigration conferences/discussions in our area and I can tell you they always play out in exactly the same way as the discussions on this board. Those in favor of finding a humane solution to the immigration "problem" are, more often than not, thoughtful, considerate, calm. Those who only want immigrants deported are, more often than not, loud, rude, inconsiderate and unwilling to listen.
By dagdavid (646), southampton on Apr 21, 09 10:02 AM
its not that easy to find a job out here in SOUTHAMPTON thats the reason why they stand outside everyday looking for work. But God Bless them. Its a storm they are going through right now but they will amke it out aloright.

By tpettaway (11), Southampton on May 8, 09 10:47 PM