September 16, 2020

Good evening, everyone – today we served 95 families, with 193 adults, 131 children and 32 seniors, for a total of 356 people served.  We’ve been serving fewer families this month, hopefully because people are being called back to work.  


We’ve been talking about how to keep the pantry going in the winter months without bringing clients inside like we used to do.  Once there’s a vaccine and we’ve all been vaccinated we can go back to doing what we used to do, but for this winter we’re hoping everyone can stay outside, step up to the table, pick up their box and bag and be on their way.  We volunteers will be bundled up.  Right now the weather’s perfect, so we have time to think about this.


We’re also figuring out how the South Church sanctuary can eventually be open for church services while also allowing us to continue using it as a pantry.  There’s plenty to think about now that fall is approaching.


I was talking to our beloved art therapist Stephanie Buck.  Our clients used to love being with her and doing art projects.  She’s thinking of ways to have a COVID art exhibit of the drawings and projects our clients have done over the months.  We’ll keep everybody posted.  And she has every intention of continuing with the art sessions as soon as we can all be together again.  


The holidays will be here before we know it, and we’re talking about what we can offer our clients beyond what we already do.  We don’t have space for turkeys, but maybe we can offer gift cards twice in November and December instead of once.  That would cost a lot of money, but hopefully the people on this list will donate and will encourage their friends to donate as well.  A big thanks to everybody who helps us in our fundraising.  

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September 15, 2020

This is why we need strong volunteers. This muscular volunteer is hefting 50 pounds of potatoes in preparation for this week’s pantry
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September 15, 2020

Good afternoon, everybody.  It’s been a hectic couple of weeks and we haven’t been able to post, but here we are, back again!  Last Wednesday we served 102 families, including 207 adults, 148 children and 30 seniors, for a total of 385 people served.  During the month of August, by the way, we averaged 112 families and 414 people a week.   Let’s see what the fall brings us in terms of numbers served.


I must continually thank Spring Community Partners for standing by us as we envision this pandemic pantry.  Robin Larkins, in particular, has been tireless in her efforts to help us in so many different ways.  She’s everywhere at once!


Throughout the summer we were providing Stop & Shop gift cards to all our clients every week.  We loved doing that because it gave our clients some choice over what to buy, but we couldn’t keep it up forever.  At this point we’ll be giving gift cards once a month at the end of the month.  Clients will receive shelf-stable food and produce every week and a gift card, varying in amount depending on the size of the family, once a month.  Everyone will get the same box and bag except for a few especially large families, who will receive a box with larger quantities of food.  


Donations have continued to be generous.  This past Saturday Ardsley United Methodist Church did another food drive for us which provided so much food that Benny’s car was packed to the gills with bags and boxes of food to bring to the pantry on Monday.  It warms my heart that AUMC’s donors have been so responsive throughout the summer, not to mention the members of AUMC including Judy Whelan, Ken Stahn and all the others, who have worked so hard for us.  Thanks to you and your pastor!


The USDA will again be providing prepared breakfasts and lunches to all the students in the Dobbs Ferry schools at least until the end of the year.  This will be a big relief to our clients who count on that food for their children.


We still have Renee Kashuba (www.foodmadebyrk.com) with us!  She’ll be supplying us with products she buys at her food-providers’ outlet and we’ll reimburse her at the end of the month.  And in between all of this she’s continuing with her catering services (as she did for the socially-distanced birthday party for one of our church members), so everybody on this list can keep her in mind throughout the fall and into the holidays.


Please always remember the pantry when you’re making monetary contributions.  You can send us a check made out to the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry or use the PayPal function on our website at www.dobbsferrypantry.org.  People on this list have been extremely enthusiastic in helping us, and we deeply appreciate your keeping us in mind.

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Both Duke and Roma cleaning the sanctuary as the pantry winds down this past Wednesday

IMG_2384 (1)

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August 27, 2020

Good afternoon, everybody – Yesterday our beloved Robin Larkins was away 😊 but we muddled through anyhow.  In the morning we served a total of 116 families, including 252 adults, 151 children and 35 seniors.  Then in the evening we served another 12 families consisting of 23 adults, 22 children and 3 seniors.  Altogether we served 128 families with 275 adults, 173 children and 38 seniors.  We served 480 people yesterday.

          Sadly, beginning in September we’ll be giving out Stop & Shop gift cards only at the end of the month.  It’s been very expensive to provide so many families with a gift card, even though we adjusted the amount according to the size of the family.  We’re hoping, with the help of donors on this list and in the community, to be able to offer gift cards once a month for the foreseeable future.  Please remember us when you’re making monetary donations.  We sign up new families every week.
          I will add, though, that one client texted volunteer Ellen K. and said that she had gone back to work and wouldn’t be needing the pantry anymore!  What good news!  And, she said that from now on she’ll help the pantry instead of the other way around.  What goes around comes around!
          Our friends at the Ardsley United Methodist Church did a food drive for us this past Saturday which yielded so much food that Ken Stahn, who has faithfully delivered the food to us from AUMC for years, had to make two trips to get all the food to us!  Maybe some of the people on this list dropped food off.  Whoever made the donations, we were very happy with the food and we started giving it out right away.  And you can help again on Saturday, September 12 from 10:00 to 1:00, when they’ll do it all over again.  Thanks, AUMC!
          The volunteers of SPRING Community Partners were divided yesterday.  Some were helping serve our clients at the food pantry and some were helping at the Dobbs Ferry High School, where school supplies were being given out to families of school-age children.  The list of children who were receiving the supplies was divided alphabetically so that there wouldn’t be a huge crowd of people all at once.  SPRING’s ability to organize activities and carry them out successfully is amazing.  There should be a Nobel prize for ability to organize.
          Next Wednesday’s food pantry will take place in September!  Can you believe the fall is here already??

 

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August 22, 2020 – Correction

The next food drive by the Ardsley United Methodist Church for the Pantry will take place on Saturday, September 12 from 10:00 to 1:00, not next Saturday.  Thanks in advance to whoever on this list brings some food or diapers for us on that day!

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August 22, 2020

Good morning, everybody – Last Wednesday, despite the pouring rain, we served 93 families, including 192 adults, 120 children and 30 seniors, for a total of 342 people served.

          We were delighted by a visit in the rain from Assemblymember Thomas Abinanti and his Constituent Liaison, Alyssa Jacobs.  They brought us large and small containers of hand sanitizer and masks, all provided by the State of New York.   We got a chance to show them around, and Mr. Abinanti fondly recalled experiences he’s had with South Presbyterian Church.  Between Mr. Abinanti and State Senator Andrea Stewart Cousins, our area is represented in Albany by a team of great people who care about needy families.
          As I write this, our friends at the Ardsley United Methodist Church are doing a food drive for us at the church at 525 Ashford Avenue in Ardsley.  It runs until 1:00 today, and they’ll be doing it again next Saturday, so drop over there with some food (tuna and canned tomatoes are in short supply) and/or size 5 and 6 diapers for us.  The people at AUMC are among our most trusted and long-term friends.
          Yesterday I stopped in to Stop & Shop for some groceries and saw that it was their grand reopening.  It’s shiny and beautiful now, and I got to talk to Manager Volante McDuffie while she was showing people around.  She said the new Stop & Shop wants to reach out to the community, so it looks like we’ll be able to count on them for support, as we have all along.  Volunteer Honora G. and I will be meeting with her and her Assistant Manager to talk about putting back the bin we used to have so that people could buy something extra for us and drop it into the bin.  We’ll see what kind of receptacle we come up with.
          Congratulations to SPRING Community Partners, especially Co-Directors Robin Larkins and Ellen Crane, for a successful two-week camp experience for Dobbs Ferry school-age children.  It took place on the Children’s Village campus, and CEO Jeffrey Kohomban was front and center, supporting SPRING and the kids.  The directors and volunteers at SPRING are an energetic bunch.  You can read all about the camp in this week’s Enterprise.
          In addition to donations of food, the pantry can really use monetary donations at this point as well.  Every week we sign up more families.  You can write a check to Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry and mail it to South Presbyterian Church at 343 Broadway in Dobbs Ferry, or you can use the PayPal feature on our website, www.dobbsferrypantry.org.  Any amount you can give us we will gratefully use.
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August 21, 2020 – Roma cleaning up the pantry after we finished. We leave the pantry clean and sanitized every week.

Roma

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August 14, 2020

Good afternoon, everybody – this past Wednesday we served a total of 119 families, compared to last week’s 105.  The families consisted of 245 adults, 154 children and 37 seniors, for a total of 436 people served.  We thought we’d see more people this week because we gave Stop & Shop gift cards this week.  The next time we offer gift cards will be on the final Wednesday of the month.

          This was the first time we operated out of the South Church sanctuary in preparation for the opening of Community Nursery School, Days of Wonder Child Care and the Creative Hearts Art Program.   It went pretty smoothly because we’re a congenial team who work well together, even though our team has doubled or tripled in size in order to serve so many clients.  And the clients made the transition well also.
          The presence of SPRING Community Partners has been so helpful because the members are involved in many different school-related activities.  Every week there are volunteers, both English-speaking and Spanish-speaking, to provide guidance to the clients about anything they’re uncertain about – and, believe me, there’s plenty to be uncertain about as parents and their children get ready for school to start.
          Another activity SPRING has started is a small outdoor camp activity for the next couple of weeks for children who haven’t been able to have any camp experience all summer.  It’s taking place on the Childrens’ Village campus and, according to co-directors Robin Larkins and Ellen Crane, it’s a great success even though all the participants have to observe COVID strictures.  They’ve even arranged for a van to transport the children to Childrens’ Village.  SPRING is an amazing group.
          Last week Village Clerk Liz Dreaper dropped off a supply of reusable tote bags with information about the 2020 Census on the bags.  It was just another reminder for people to fill out the Census questionnaire.  Each client got a tote bag and was reminded again of the importance of participating in the census.  The Village of Dobbs Ferry continues to back the pantry in so many important ways, and much of the support comes from Mayor Rossillo, Village Clerk Dreaper, Village Administrator Manley, Fire Chief Marron, and many others.  Thanks to you all!
          This past Sunday Marc Taiano was invited to come to the Irvington Farmers’ Market after it closed, and he was provided with produce left over from the vendors.   We’ve been told that we can go there every Sunday around 1:30 and there will be produce for us.  Before COVID the Pantry used to occupy a table a couple of times every summer, and shoppers would contribute generously in order to help the pantry.  The people at the Farmers’ Market have been very kind to us for years.
          Every week there’s a Zoom meeting sponsored by Feeding Westchester, where pantry and soup kitchen volunteers can get together to schmooze and hear what’s new from Feeding Westchester staff.  This week Monique McCoy, Agency Relations Director, warned us that some unemployed people may start having their unemployment benefits expire towards the end of this month and the beginning of next month.  Let’s hope those benefits are extended or all of our pantries and soup kitchens will see another uptick in hungry families.
          Hope everybody got through Tropical Storm Isaias without too much suffering.  We’ve paid our dues for this hurricane season, don’t you think?

 

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August 7, 2020

Good afternoon, everybody – despite the devastation of Tropical Storm Isaias, the pantry took place as usual on Wednesday, although many volunteers and clients were without electricity.  Probably many on this list went through the same thing.  On Wednesday we served a total of 105 families (compared to 130 last week), including 217 adults, 137 children and 28 seniors.  We served 382 people Wednesday.  Last Wednesday it was 491.

          Our clients had been warned that as of this month we will be giving Stop & Shop gift cards out only on the second and last Wednesdays instead of every week.  We wondered if clients were coming mainly for the gift cards, but now we know that many of our clients are in need of food, whether it comes with a gift card or not.
          We’ve pretty much completed our transfer from one section of the church to another in preparation for the opening of the Community Nursery School and Days of Wonder.  This coming Wednesday we’ll be operating out of the sanctuary instead of near the office.  We’ve got some great minds among our volunteers who have figured this all out, and we all stayed in good spirits throughout!  That’s the kind of group we are.
          One of our greatest supporters is Dr. Nitin Gupta of Rivertowns Pediatrics (www.rivertownspeds.com, 914-330-8445).  He has kept us supplied with diapers and baby wipes for a very long time, and he has made financial donations to the pantry throughout the years.  It also helps that he’s a member of the Rivertowns Rotary.  They’ve had food drives for us at Stop & Shop, and other members of the Rotary Club, encouraged by Dr. Gupta, have been interested in helping us as well.  Thank you so much, Dr. Gupta.
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