In Southampton, New York, the many people are filthy rich and real estate is so expensive that a handyman’s special home could set you back $2 million. The thrift shop in town has donations of designer handbags and dresses.
However, Southampton with its pristine beaches, privet hedges and estates that cost in the tens of millions of dollars; is the same place where 40% of the children are receiving reduced or free school lunches; the food pantry serves as many as 400 meals per month; and some doctors and nurses must share homes the local hospital owns because they are not able to afford to rent or buy.
Studies indicate the gap in wealth separating those that have and everyone else has grown wider and that is illustrated more starkly in the Hamptons that in many other places in the U.S.
Even people considered middle class in the Hamptons struggle to make ends meet.
One retiree said a huge number of millionaires are living only 3 miles from the nearest food pantry and they do not even know of the tremendous need in the community.
During the summer everyone works and things are good, but winter comes and the gardeners, nannies, pool attendants and others are unemployed with no money, said one resident.
Many of the people are not just employees that show up for the summer, they have established homes in the town and kids attending the schools, but have trouble paying all their expenses.
Southampton is one of many villages and towns that stretch along over 40 miles of the Atlantic Ocean referred to as the Hamptons. In 2010, the collective population was just 57,000 with an average income of just $78,800.
However, in Southampton the average price of homes sold during the first three months of 2014 were over $1.8 million, while some along the ocean have sold for more than $100 million.
With all the money amongst the rich and famous, who have homes there, comes high prices. Milk can cost $5.99 per gallon and one dozen eggs as much as $4, which is close to double the price in other parts of Long Island.