Cosmos Support Coney Island Lighthouse Mission During Coronavirus Pandemic

Published Apr 8, 2020

For many people, the Coney Island Lighthouse Mission is a safe port in a storm in normal times.

During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, it has become so much more indispensable to the Brooklyn community.

While many food pantries in New York City have shut down in the last month, the CILM has kept its doors open. The organization continued to provide ready-made meals and its own food pantry for needy individuals and families.

"The numbers of people and the families coming has just skyrocketed," said Rev. Vincent Fusco, the CEO of the ACTS Community Development Corp., which runs the CILM.

The CILM serves about 3,000 individuals a month through its food pantry plus in-person hot meals and deliveries to senior citizens and the disabled. In the past few weeks, the demand has increased by 25 percent across the board while social distancing rules have greatly restricted on-site dining.

"The food is coming, but we're starting to see shaking in the delivery system," Rev. Fusco said. "There are some foods that we are starting to run out of and we're hoping that doesn't continue that way. As long as they continue to provide us with the food and nobody gets sick, we’re happy to serve."

The Cosmos recently made a monetary donation to the Lighthouse Mission, for which Rev. Fusco was grateful. During a recent interview, Rev. Fusco noted that 32 percent of New York City pantries were closed, although that number could grow to 50 percent.

"That grant from the Cosmos was a tremendous, tremendous help," Rev. Fusco said. "We were paying our employees, even the ones that were working from home, keeping them employed. We were wondering how that was going to happen. So that helped a lot."

The CLIM also has applied for a government loan through the recent $2 trillion stimulus bill that was passed. "That'll help us going forward as well," Rev. Fusco said. "We want to keep them working."

Rev. Fusco said he praised his hard-working staff, which has put in many hours during these difficult times."We have great staff," he said. "They have been with me for years, some of them over 10 years. We have tremendous volunteers. We've had volunteers who have been with us 10 years. We have very faithful, committed people. They really understand what we're doing and want to be a part of it. They're willing to sacrifice to make it happen."

The volunteers come through many walks of life -- doctors, lawyers, accountants, business owners and entrepreneurs, among others."We've been blessed, we've been really, really blessed," he said.

Due to the pandemic, donations to the Lighthouse Mission have been dwindled.

"The problem is that our individual donations are already drying up," Rev. Fusco said. "Seven million people applied for unemployment insurance [last] week. So, without a job, you can't expect people to [donate]. They're struggling with what's happened. So, financing is a big issue."

Rev. Fusco stressed that people should donate money rather than food.

"The best thing is money because food becomes a problem," he said. "Sometimes people want to donate, and they can't deliver it to you. So, for us to go and deliver it, its cost prohibitive. It doesn't help. It costs us more money to get the food than the food that is being donated, unless it’s a real huge, huge amount."

Cosmos supporters, soccer fans, anyone, for that matter, can donate to the organization by visiting their website at

To find out more about the Lighthouse Mission, go to