COMMACK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — It is inspiring to see the innovative way neighbors are helping neighbors – and strangers, too – by providing the necessities during these uncertain times.

Some are giving the food off their tables, CBS2’s Jenna DeAngelis reported Monday.

Barbara Turtel of Commack “sets the table” with items to give away.

“Soups, vegetables… We have some books, we have clothing,” she said.

The items were donated by community members for those in need.

“I have been on the other side of this, where I had at one point lost my house, was getting a divorce and lost my job. So, I knew what it was like to have those feelings of not being able to provide,” Turtel said.

Turtel is now behind the sharing table in her neighborhood. It’s set up outside Rachel Gentile’s home on Commack Road.

The concept of a sharing table is simple: Take what you need, leave what you can – if you can. (credit: CBS2)

Turtel and Gentile were strangers before connecting on social media, where they found a new friendship and purpose.

“My husband passed away on Thanksgiving and I had no holiday spirit, whatsoever. And I decided that it would probably be best for me to get involved in something like this, of giving back to the community,” Gentile said.

The concept of a sharing table is simple: Take what you need, leave what you can – if you can.

It’s an idea the women got from Mary Kate Tischler, who set up Long Island’s first sharing table in Seaford in November.

“I was reading a magazine article about women in Michigan who did the same thing and I thought it would be a relatively easy way to help people in the community,” said Tischler, founder of the Sharing Tables of New York.

Her 6-year-old daughter is helping, too.

LINK: Click here to view an Amazon Wish List of items the organizers say every sharing table needs.

A neighbor who stopped by told Tischler they’re the reason he could take a shower and eat dinner that night.

The impact is beyond what she ever imagined.

There are now more than one dozen sharing tables in New York, including Queens, the Hudson Valley and all over Long Island:

  • Seaford Sharing Table: [temporarily closed]
  • Bethpage Sharing Table: 16 Helena Ave
  • Wantagh Sharing Table: 1195 Flower Lane
  • St. James Sharing Table: 169 Northern Blvd [temporarily closed]
  • Massapequa Sharing Table: 220 Bayview Ave
  • Franklin Square Sharing Tables: Cathedral Avenue off of New Hyde Park Road
  • Commack Sharing Table: 428 Commack Road
  • Lindenhurst Sharing Table: 376 W. Montauk Hwy
  • Forrest Hills Sharing Table: 70th Ave and the corner of Exeter Street
  • East Meadow Sharing Table: 2716 Sheila Court
  • Poughkeepsie Sharing Table: 1884 New Hackensack Road
  • Plainview Sharing Table: 14 Cloverhill Drive

“The generosity from the public has been outrageous,” said Diana Carannante of East Meadow.

“Please come by. Give what you can, take what you need. It’s all here for everybody,” said Gentile.

Organizers said the tables can all use toiletries and cleaning supplies. You can drop off donations or purchase items on their Amazon Wish List.

Tischler said, “There’s so much fear and anxiety and just negativity right now with COVID and all the things happening in the world, and I think the takeaway is that kindness really matters.”

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Jenna DeAngelis