BABYLON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — There’s an effort underway in one Long Island community to derail a planned church program to feed the needy.

Some residents of the upscale Babylon Village worry that a once-a-week food program in the basement of the Christ Episcopal Church will bring problems and outsiders to their community, WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reported.

More than 100 residents packed a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on the subject Wednesday night and a petition opposed to the food program is now circulating the neighborhood.

“We are all for soup kitchens, if somehow I could help them cook and bring it somewhere else, to the people who need it, rather than have them all come here I’d be happy to do that,” resident Valerie Basile told CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan on Tuesday. “As a mom of three young kids I’m nervous, nervous about an influx of strangers wandering through the neighborhood on a weekly basis.”

But officials at the church said the fears are unwarranted.

“There’s contingency plans that are there to help with parking, help with anything that could go on, loitering and so forth, it’s all in place,” church vestry member Bob Norman said.

The program will feed 30 to 50 needy people, mostly senior citizens and those on fixed incomes, Norman said.

“It may be the only meal they get that day or that part of that week,” Norman said. “They deserve a meal; they deserve some companionship; they deserve to be treated with dignity.”

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