February 19, 2020

Good evening, everybody – today we served 37 families, including 68 adults, 43 children and 19 seniors, for a total of 130 people served.

          The leader of a group of Daisy Girl Scouts contacted me and said they were going to have a yoga event and would like to find a way to help the pantry at the same time.  She asked if I could recommend one specific product that each scout could provide.  I asked for dried black beans.  Just about every one of our clients looks for dried black beans.  They prefer them to canned beans because a bag of dried beans will serve more people than canned beans.  Today she arrived, carrying a tote bag full of dried beans, most of which were black.  They went like hotcakes.  What a great idea she had.  Right now we’re overloaded with pasta and macaroni and cheese, but we never have enough dried black beans.  We’ll send them a thank-you letter and maybe they’ll schedule another event at which they can collect more beans for us.
          Our artist, Stephanie Buck, has been coming every week to encourage our clients to express themselves through art for over a year now.  Nobody has to participate, but many do, and quite a few come to the art room regularly.  Today’s theme was “what word would describe what your family is experiencing now?”  The clients drew or created art projects based on that theme.  Last week the artists collaborated on a huge heart on which they placed valentines for us pantry volunteers.  Stephanie says that the clients became enthused and energetic as they found a way to show their thanks to us at the pantry for providing food for them each week.  We volunteers were surprised and touched by the feelings expressed on that valentine.
          By the way, Stephanie has arranged for an art exhibit of the clients’ art to be displayed at the Donald Gallery at South Church throughout the summer, from late June to early September.  She’ll include that huge valentine as one of the exhibits.  People on this list can come at any point over the summer and admire the clients’ work.
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February 13, 2020

Good evening, everybody – yesterday we served 41 families with 83 adults, 49 children and 19 seniors for a total of 151 people served.

          The food pantry has been well-served the last couple of years by a CSA (community-supported agriculture) during the spring, summer and fall.  We pay for two shares and the farmer donates two shares, and we have plenty of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables to offer our clients throughout the growing season.  This is augmented by Roots & Wings’s garden behind South Church, which allocates a section of the garden to vegetables for the pantry as well.  Our clients have plenty of fresh, organic produce all season long, and they love it.  This summer we’re hoping to have the same benefit for our clients, but it won’t happen unless enough families sign up for a share of the CSA, which is delivered every Sunday morning at around 8:30 or 9:00 in the South Church parking lot.  I’m hoping that people on this list will sign up (or have signed up) for the CSA this growing season.  If you need more information you can visit the Roots and Wings website – rivertownscommunitygardens.com.  That website will give you all you need.
          The South Church Teen Benefit this past Saturday was a smashing success.  Hopefully they’ll do it again next year, so come next year if you weren’t there this year.  They are amazingly talented, and they raised thousands of dollars to send to an animal refuge in Australia which had burned to the ground.
          A woman contacted me who needed help from the pantry.  She wanted to come on Wednesday morning but she was ashamed.  She was afraid she’d see somebody she knew who’d then realize that she was struggling financially.  I encouraged her to come but she hasn’t arrived.  If anybody on this list knows somebody who’s in financial straits but wants to continue to live in the Rivertowns, encourage them to come to the pantry.  We can at least help with a little food.  I hate to think that shame will stop somebody who needs what we have to offer.  I think the dread of being seen and judged will melt away once you get here and we make you feel welcome.
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February 5, 2020

Good evening, everybody – today we served 37 families, including 74 adults, 51 children and 16 seniors.  We served 141 people today.  I’m glad the number of seniors coming to the pantry is increasing.  If anybody knows a senior who is in need of food, talk to the person about us, or let me know.  I’m sure there are senior citizens out there who are struggling to pay the bills and remain in their homes but there’s a shame factor in having to come to a pantry.  It may help if they at least know we’re here.

          The Dobbs Ferry High School football team did another pre-Super Bowl food drive for us at Stop & Shop this past Saturday, and they were as successful as they have been in other years.  The team has done a drive for us on the Saturday before Super Bowl for a couple of years now, and it’s always fantastically successful.  This year they outdid themselves.  I posted a picture on Facebook and Instagram of the room upstairs in the church, filled with bags of food and other products.  There wasn’t an inch of space on the floor – and they did it in about four hours! A team of our volunteers worked very hard this morning arranging everything, and the room is organized now.  I’ll try to take another picture to show everything they collected for us, neatly stacked and shelved.  Thanks to volunteers Tom, Duke and Marc.
          We also received food and diapers from the Rotaract Club at Mercy College.  They collected food for us over the holidays and brought it over this past Tuesday, together with Tim, the President of the Rivertowns Rotary Club.  Rotarians in general are generous, caring people.
          The Garden Club of Dobbs Ferry has been collecting food for us every month at their meeting.  They’ll be dropping some food off to us this week.  Thanks to Mary Fennell Gerber for organizing this effort for us.
          We appreciate every morsel of food, diapers, cleaning supplies, etc., etc. that people drop off to us, as long as it hasn’t expired.  Everything people donate to us goes to hungry families.  And, by the way, we appreciate monetary donations as well, by check or through the PayPal function on our website (www.dobbsferrypantry.org).  We take that money and use it to buy whatever we’re low on.
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January 23, 2020

Good morning, everybody – yesterday we served a total of 40 families, including 75 adults, 56 children and 17 seniors.  We served 149 people yesterday.

          At 7:00 on Saturday, February 8 at South Church there will be a performance by Rivertowns teens like we had the last couple of years.  Last year proceeds went to teen service projects, and in 2018 the proceeds went to Puerto Rico disaster relief.  This year it will be sent to Australia.  First there’s a delicious dinner created by Peter Brenner, Eric Greenberg and Alex Orlowski, then performances by the most talented teens in the area.  It’s amazing what these kids can do – and they’re only kids!  If anybody on this list wants to sign up, go to www.southpres.org and follow the prompts.  It’s $35 for adults, $10 for teens.
          Several months ago we received a donation from a little girl who chose to have guests at her birthday party contribute to the pantry instead of bringing gifts.  As if that wasn’t enough, her father’s company now sent us a matching amount, which means the pantry was helped twice by this family.  There’s generosity all around, which is why we’re able to keep providing food to our hungry clients.
          We still continue automatically receiving diapers every month from a young mother who has arranged to have Amazon deliver them to us.  She does it because she’s a mother herself and she understands how expensive diapers are.  We’ve also received many diapers from Dr. Nitin Gupta of Rivertowns Pediatrics, who also knows how hard it is to keep a baby in diapers.  Once again, there’s generosity all around.  If anybody on this list would like to donate diapers to us, sizes 4, 5 and 6 are the ones most in demand, and no matter how many we receive, we can always use more.  They fly off the shelves.
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January 15, 2020

Good evening, everybody – This morning we served a total of 39 families, including 76 adults, 51 children and 19 seniors, for a total of 145 people served.

          Just this week we’ve received donations of food from the Dobbs Ferry Lutheran Church, Zion Episcopal Church, Ardsley Methodist Church and the Community Nursery School.  Even after the holidays, they’re thinking of us.  And we received a financial donation from an organization new to us by the name of Home Helpers of Westchester.  Even though we’ve been open for several years, people and organizations are still learning about us and offering a helping hand; and others, like the ones mentioned above, have helped us for years and years.  We’re eternally grateful for the reliable contributions, both financial and edible.
          This past weekend Benny and I attended brunch at the Dobbs Ferry Woman’s Club, and an eggnog party at the Dobbs Ferry Historical Society.  Both organizations are important to Dobbs Ferry, and we’re glad they’re there.
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January 8, 2020

Good evening, everybody – this morning we opened the pantry after being closed since December 23 because Christmas and New Years were both on Wednesdays.  It was a good rest for us volunteers, but we missed each other and were glad to see each other after this break.  We served a total of 39 families this morning, including 77 adults, 46 children and 18 seniors, for a total of 141 people served.

          This past Sunday three of us volunteers had a great time with a troop of Cub Scouts from Irvington.  They came with their parents and troop leaders and helped us sort and check for expiration dates a huge amount of food that had been donated over the holidays.  It’s all in a room upstairs in the church, neatly sorted and shelved, and it only took them about an hour to do it all.  They were so enthusiastic that we may ask them back at some point to help with more deliveries.
          One of the deliveries we’re looking forward to is the Kids Can campaign which happens three times a year at Springhurst.  The parents, students and teachers have been doing this for us for several years now, and we’ve come to count on them to collect shelf-stable food, organize it and bring it to us.  This is the second delivery so far this year, and it’s the second- and third-graders’ turn.  Thanks especially to Nola Kende Long and Sharon Van Engen, who coordinated these drives last year and are doing it again this year.  It’s a lot of work and they do a wonderful job!
          I wish everybody on this list a safe, healthy and sane 2020.
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December 26, 2019

Good afternoon, everybody – since Christmas was Wednesday, we were open on Monday, December 23.  In the morning we served 54 families with 94 adults, 64 children and 23 seniors.  Then in the evening we served another 18 families with 29 adults, 29 children and 5 more seniors.  This brought us to a record of 72 families, 123 adults, 93 children and 28 seniors.  We served 252 people on Monday.  In 2019 we averaged 36 families a week and 129 people a week.  In 2018 and 2017 we averaged 30 families a week, so we’re creeping up, particularly among seniors, which is a good thing.  In 2019 we served 6,653 people.

          We were surprised on Monday by a visit from Officer Justin Kamke of the Dobbs Ferry Policemen’s Benevolent Association.  They brought forty boxes, each containing an assortment of holiday foods.  This nicely accompanied the gift cards we were giving out.  Plus volunteer Mary Anne Griggs brought candies and goodies for the clients.  So, a good time was had by all.
          We’ll open again on Wednesday, January 8.  This has been a banner year for the pantry, thanks to an amazing group of volunteers, some of whom have been with us since the beginning, and an equally amazing group of donors, including individuals, churches, synagogues and other organizations.  The combination of these dedicated volunteers and an outpouring of donations, some from people and groups who have donated to us multiple times over the years, has enabled the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry to thrive and grow in our effort to knock out food insecurity in the Rivertowns and Greenburgh.  There is still hunger in our area, but it’s clear to me that we’ve been able to help our clients feed themselves and their children, and we hope to continue to do that for a long time to come.
          Hope everybody on this list stays warm, healthy and safe throughout the holidays.
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December 19, 2019

Good afternoon, everybody – yesterday we served a record 55 families, including 109 adults, 73 children and 20 seniors for a total of 202 people.

          Since Christmas and New Years fall on Wednesdays, we’ll be open this coming Monday, the 23rd, from 10:00 to noon and from 5:30 to 7:00.  Instead of turkey, we’ll give out Stop & Shop gift cards, like we did at Thanksgiving.  A lot of our budget is spent around the holidays, but it’s an important time for our clients, and it’s a needy time since the children are out of school and can’t even count on lunch in the cafeteria.  We’ll then reopen on Wednesday, January 8.
          We volunteers have been going strong since 2013.  A lot of us are really looking forward to this brief break.
          The students from the Dobbs Ferry High School Ecology Club, led by teacher and advisor Kelly Ravo, dropped off bags and bags of food donations to us during their lunchhour yesterday.  They collected bottles, recycled them and spent the money on food for the pantry, plus they brought donations from home.  Thanks to the kids and Ms. Ravo for coming up with this idea for us.
          A cub scout troop from Irvington will be coming after church on January 5 to help us sort the food we have stored upstairs from the donations we’ve received.  They’ll be checking for outdated food, sorting it into food groups and placing it on the shelves we have upstairs.  I don’t know whether they’ll be able to finish it all in one fell swoop, but they can make a big dent in it, and maybe they can even come back to finish the job.  What a wonderful and motivated group they are.
          Hope everybody is managing to enjoy the holidays plus stay warm.
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December 11, 2019

Good afternoon, everybody – today, despite the bad weather, we served 31 families, including 55 adults, 42 children and 12 seniors for a total of 109 people served.

          This morning we didn’t have any produce for our clients.  We remember the days in spring, summer and fall when we took the CSA and Roots and Wings garden for granted, and were used to offering a variety of fruits and vegetables to our clients every week.  In winter, once a month we receive a big supply of produce from Feeding Westchester, which will happen next week, but for the other weeks we either have nothing to offer or one of our volunteers goes to Stop & Shop and purchases some produce to be given the next day.  We really appreciate everyone’s monetary donations during the winter to help us provide plenty of fresh produce for our clients.
          When we first started the pantry back in 2013 all we had to offer were canned vegetables and fruits.  Gradually our clients got used to having beautiful, fresh produce, and now they’re disappointed if we don’t have it.  I’m glad they appreciate the fresh produce that’s grown in our area, and many clients have learned about fruits and vegetables they didn’t know about.
          Dobbs Ferry High School is helping us again.  A teacher by the name of Kelly Ravo, who is the Ecology Club Advisor, contacted me and told me the students are collecting cans and bottles at school, and this week they’ll be taking them to Stop & Shop to deposit.  They’ll then take the money and use it to buy food for us at Stop & Shop, and they’ll bring it to us next Wednesday during their lunch hour at 11:45 a.m.  What a unique idea, and we can certainly use the food.
          Ardsley United Methodist is helping us as well.  Ken Stahn showed up with fifteen bags of food collected from the congregation.  We’ll be able to give it all out next week.
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December 5, 2019

Good afternoon, everybody – yesterday we served 33 families with 62 adults, 35 children and 20 seniors for a total of 117 people.  In the month of November we averaged 40 families and 153 people a week.

          We received a huge donation of food from Cabrini of Westchester, and two very kind Cabrini employees plus our strongest volunteers carried it all upstairs to a room since there was no space downstairs.
          Several bags and boxes of food from Cabrini are waiting for a troop of Irvington Cub Scouts to come on a Saturday or Sunday in the near future to organize all the food, check for expiration dates and put it all on shelves upstairs for us to bring down in bits and pieces as we need it.  The leaders want us to educate the boys about hunger in general and the importance of pantries and soup kitchens, which we will be glad to do.
          Last Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, our volunteers gave out 45 pies, both pumpkin and apple, made by the South Church teen group.  And one of the teens even came to help out at the pantry that day.  South Church has a great teen group and a very active Faith and Justice Lab for all the children, from early childhood to teen.  The younger children have been collecting food for us every Sunday for the last few weeks, and after church this Sunday the children will gather the food and stock the shelves of the pantry.  This is how the children at South Church are coming to understand that there really is hunger and need in the Rivertowns.


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