June 19, 2019

Good afternoon, everybody – today we served 31 families with 50 adults, 41 children and 17 seniors.  We served a total of 108 people today.

          Between the CSA and the Roots & Wings garden, our pantry was overflowing with fresh fruits and vegetables this morning.  And everything was gone by the time we closed up.  In the garden, Marc harvested kale, lettuce, cilantro and snap peas.  And the summer is only beginning!
          We received a generous check from the Share Your Wish organization.  This is a group based in Irvington that encourages children who are having a birthday party or some other event to ask their guests to bring money for a charity instead of a gift.  When I heard about the group I imagined that children would never be willing to give up their gifts, but we’ve received several checks from Share Your Wish, which means that children were in fact willing to ask their friends to help others.  Share Your Wish maintains an entire list of charities that a child could choose, and we’re proud to be on that list.
          For the last couple of years we’ve represented the Pantry at the community table at the Irvington Farmers’ Market on a given Sunday.  We expected the shoppers to share what they bought with us, but in fact they’ve given us cash, and we’re happy to accept it.  It’s a wonderful farmers’ market, with live music and activities for the kids.  We’ll be there again this year, on August 4.  Hope to see some of the people on this list there.


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June 12, 2019

Good afternoon, everybody – today we served 39 families, including 70 adults, 55 children and 19 seniors.  We served a total of 144 people today.

          This past Sunday was our first CSA of the season, and we’re off to a great start.  We were able to offer the clients snap peas, carrots, cucumbers, lettuce, rhubarb, asparagus, beets, apples and sunflower shoots.  We provided a pile of rhubarb recipes, which the clients happily accepted.
          On top of that Marc harvested in the garden early this morning and brought in beautiful lettuce, kale and herbs, including lemon verbena.  In the past we’ve had the most delicious tomatoes from the garden, and Marc says they’re coming along this year also.
          Yesterday we were visited by a group of fourth-graders from Springhurst School.  They had a lot of good questions about how a food pantry works, and they brought food for our shelves as well.  The class is studying how volunteerism helps a community, and they divided into groups studying the volunteer firefighters, the ambulance corps, Cabrini of Westchester, Dobbs Ferry Village Hall and our pantry.  We’re happy to have been included, and I’m sure the children will bring information home to their parents about our pantry.
          Thanks also to Westchester Milk, Ardsley United Methodist Church, Zion Episcopal and Dobbs Ferry Lutheran.  They all have helped us on a regular, consistent basis for years, without even being asked.  what more could we ask for?  This is what keeps us going.
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Springhurst fourth-grade teachers KC Sokolski, Mariana Rudelic and Joelle Mitchell with food donated by students who are studying volunteerism in Dobbs Ferry. Thanks for helping the Pantry, kids!

Springhurst fourth grade teachers KC Sokolski, Mariana Rudelic and Joelle Mitchell with food donated by Springhurst fourth graders. Thanks for helping the Pantry, kids!

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June 5, 2019

Good afternoon, everyone – today we served 38 families, including 67 adults, 38 children and 15 seniors, for a total of 120 people.  We signed up three new clients today, two from Greenburgh and one from here in Dobbs Ferry.

          We’re excited that the CSA will be starting this coming Sunday.  From now on until the fall we’ll have fresh produce, both from the CSA and from the Roots and Wings garden.  In fact, this morning we already were able to offer lettuce, kale and several herbs from the garden.  We’re lucky that Marc volunteers with us every Wednesday, manages the Roots and Wings garden and will be signing people in at the CSA every Sunday as well.
          This coming Tuesday will be the day we’ll be visited by Ms. Giuliano’s fourth-grade class from Springhurst.  They’ll learn how a food pantry works, and they’ll interview a couple of volunteers in order to learn what it means to be a volunteer and how we help the community.  The children will be bringing food for us as well.  Springhurst is a very community-minded school.
          And this coming Wednesday South Church will be hosting a luncheon for clergy and others from the community to discuss the campaign to establish a sanctuary apartment in the church so that immigrant families can find safety, refuge and solidarity while they fight their cases in court.  If anybody on this list would like to attend that luncheon on June 12 at 12:30 p.m. you can RSVP to Kay O’Keefe of South Church at 914-382-6363 or ctbok322@gmail.com.
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May 30, 2019

Good evening, everybody – yesterday we served 31 families during the day, including 60 adults, 45 children and 13 seniors.  Then at night, despite the pouring rain, we served another 9 families with 19 adults, 20 children and 2 seniors.  That brought us to a total of 40 families including 79 adults, 65 children and 15 seniors.  We served 158 people yesterday.  For the month of May we averaged 41 families a week and 146 people a week.

          Our CSA will begin on June 9.  We’ll be getting two shares a week, plus whatever leftovers the farmer can let us have.  This has been a big success for us in other years, and we’re looking forward to another summer of fresh fruits and vegetables from both the CSA and the Roots & Wings garden.  We’re already starting to receive some herbs and early kale from the garden.  Thanks to all the Roots & Wings volunteers, who set aside a section of the garden for the pantry.  On Wednesday mornings we go out and harvest whatever the garden has to offer that week and hand it right over to the clients.
           We received our last Kids Can collection of food from Springhurst.  We received a huge amount of food, as we always do from Springhurst, and a lot of it has been given out already.  This year we’ve been serving more people, and we have three families who can’t come to the pantry but to whom we deliver food.  One of our volunteers delivers Ensure to a woman who, due to illness, can’t eat a lot of our foods.  He’s a very kind person who provides the Ensure out of his pocket.  That’s what volunteering is all about – do what you can whenever you can.
          I got a charming e-mail from a fourth-grade teacher at Springhurst.  She said her class is studying “how do volunteers help our community?”, and they’ve studied our website!  She said the students would like to visit the pantry and see how we do things.  I wrote back and said we’d be glad to meet with the students.  We have to find a day and time that works for everybody, and Benny and I, and maybe a couple of other volunteers, will show them around.  I suggested that each student also bring some shelf-stable food with them so that they can stock the pantry.  And together we’ll check the foods to be sure they haven’t expired.  That way they can teach their parents the importance of checking expiration dates.


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May 22, 2019

Good evening, everybody – today we served 45 families, including 77 adults, 54 children and 24 seniors, for a total of 155 people.

          This past Saturday was the Spring Community Partners’ Spring children’s clothing boutique at South Church.  The members of Spring Community Partners collect clothing all year in order to offer these free boutiques twice a year, and they’re well-attended.  It takes hours the day before to arrange all the clothing according to size, etc., and the next morning the clothes disappear within an hour or so.  It’s a very merry event, and everybody goes home happy, including the exhausted parents and other members.  Spouses and children help out with putting the boutique together as well.  They’ve been doing these boutiques for years, so the members operate like a well-oiled machine.
          Our CSA starts on June 9!  We ordered two shares, so we should have plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables every week for our clients until the fall.  And we’re already receiving herbs from the Roots & Wings community garden behind the church.  Plus today Marc brought us tiny kale as well.
          We’re aware that more and more stores and other places are getting rid of plastic bags.  In order to do our part to help the environment, we’ve decided that, beginning July 1, we’ll stop offering plastic bags for our clients to take food home.  Instead, we’ll invest in reusable tote bags from Trader Joe’s or someplace.  We give out reusable tote bags during holiday seasons anyway, so this will enable our clients to respect the environment by using only reusable bags for their food.
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full pantry after postal workers’ food drive

full pantry after postal workers' drive

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May 16, 2019

Good afternoon, everybody – yesterday we served 45 families, including 78 adults, 52 children and 24 seniors, for a total of 154 people.

     The mail carriers’ drive this past Saturday was eminently successful, and there weren’t as many expired cans of food as in previous years.  We really appreciate that because it cuts down on the amount of sorting and throwing away we volunteers have to do.  Thanks to all the people in Dobbs Ferry who left food for their mail carrier, and thanks to the carriers who lugged the food to the Post Office, where our volunteers Mary Anne and Ed picked the food up and brought it to South Church.  Quite a bit of the food was given out yesterday.
     Also successful was a drive at Cabrini of Westchester, organized by Director of Recreation Sheri Gottlieb, which yielded lots of shelf-stable foods (none of which had expired), plus a check for the pantry.  The staff at Cabrini has helped the pantry through the years, and Sheri is a shining example of that effort.
     Marc Taiano and I attended a Feeding Westchester Community Gathering this morning in Peekskill, which is a chance for pantries to network and rub elbows.  There was a speaker from the Pace Women’s Justice Center and a speaker from the Greater New York Hospital Association, talking about a website by the name of www.hitesite.org, which offers guidance and resources about a whole host of services, and the site can be translated into many languages, including Spanish.  These speakers offered great information for us to pass on to our clients.  Feeding Westchester representative Monique McCoy was there, and she said, “it’s not just about food”.   They’d like us to be able to offer more information to our needy clients.
     This coming Tuesday is the delivery of the food gathered at Springhurst in its final Kids Can food drive of the year.  We’re looking forward to receiving this delivery because donations tend to dwindle during the summer, so the more we receive now the longer our supplies will last.
      I’m hoping the people on this list won’t forget us in the summer.  We’ll need food, diapers and financial donations throughout the summer (there’s a Pay Pal feature on our website, www.dobbsferrypantry.org).
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Dr. Nitin Gupta, organizer of the Rotarians’ diaper drive on May 5, 2019

rotary diaper drive - dr. gupta

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Pastor Drew and me at the Rotarians’ diaper drive on May 5, 2019

Pastor Drew and me at the Rotarians diaper drive

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