April 2022

Some scary statistics have been coming our way recently.  Food prices are up 15% since March 2020.  A recent survey of Feeding Westchester clients found that for 66% of them, their local food pantry was their primary source of food.  In Westchester, the second wealthiest county in New York, 1 in every 5 children lacks reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.  Let that sink in.

And as you might expect, we have been seeing an increase in the number of families coming to us in need.  In April we gave out Stop & Shop cards (in varying amounts depending on family size) to each family because with school closed for the spring break, those children wouldn’t be getting free lunches at school.  Those gift cards are paid for out of our budget.

In addition to our partnerships with Feeding Westchester and community donations, we are very proud of our food recovery program.  Each week we send volunteers to Mom’s Organic Market, New York Bagel Authority, Panera Bread, Stop & Shop, and the Shop in Ardsley, to pick up food items that would otherwise be thrown away – breads and bagels that are left at the end of the day, dairy and other perishable items that only have a day or two left before their expiration date.  We rescue carloads of food that would otherwise be tossed in the dumpsters and get it to those who need and appreciate it.  If you have an idea of a business from whom we could rescue surplus foods on Monday or Tuesday evenings, to be given out at our Wednesday pantry, please let us know.  Even better would be if you could pick up that food and bring it to us!

Every month without fail, the Ardsley Methodist Church holds food drives for us and we are so very grateful.  Ken delivers a car full each month of non-perishable items and always has an envelope of checks and Stop & Shop cards from his congregation.  Thank you, Ardsley Methodist!

Calling all teens looking to accrue karma points over the summer (or just volunteer hours for school/sports/church)!  We love having teens help us on Wednesday mornings, when they are not in school.  If you are interested, please reach out to Donna at assuma.donna26@gmail.com  Not available on Wednesdays but still need/want volunteer hours?  Consider hosting a food drive or diaper drive and we can sign off on several hours for you.

A special shout out to all of our monthly donors – knowing that we can count on your recurring donations is so important to us in our planning. If you’re not already signed up, please consider even a monthly $10 or $20 donation through PayPal.

This month’s newsletter was written by Gretchen Skaggs who can be found any given Wednesday morning, running around the lawn of South Church like a chicken with her head cut off.

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March 2022

Weatherwise, it was a wildly wicked Winter!  Not much snow, but erratic temperatures, ferocious ice and wind storms, and the odd deluge of rain had an impact on both the first quarter and the month of March.  Other factors affecting our results were the continuing Covid-19 epidemic (Up? Down? Over? Lurking?), and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, both of which sent already high energy prices and inflation into hyperdrive.  And when low income goes lower, lines get longer. We again are seeing a rise in visitors to the Pantry and April may be another of those inflection points.

Donor Shout-outs:

The little lady shown below is Lena (7), with her younger brother Ellis (5).  They heard about the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry and wanted to help us.  So they organized their own food drive, distributing notices to all their neighbors.  It went very well.

Lena, her mother Joanna, and her grandmother Joan arrived at the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry on Wednesday with a car stuffed with donations along with other items supplied by Joanna and Joan.  The Pantry was in full swing, but volunteers came running from all directions to help them.  The trio was then given a tour showing them how we do what we do with donations and how we serve our neighbors in need, which, after all, was exactly what Lena and Ellis set out to do.

David, of Subway Sandwiches in Tuckahoe, delivers the goods to volunteers Bijal Das, Kristy Fitzgerald and Enzina Zaino. Subway is providing 100 lunches to the Pantry each week as part of the state’s Restaurant Resiliency Program.

Volunteer Jessica Chaput arrives from Woodlands Community Temple in Greenburgh with Hamantaschen (huh-min-tah-shun), a triangular pastry tradition for Purim, the Jewish holiday that celebrates the triumph of good over evil.

On one of the coldest days in March, sisters Chloe and Kaylie Runge drop off results of ongoing diaper drives by Girl Scout Troops 1682 and 1690.

Our good friend and neighbor Gordon, familiar to anyone who patronizes the Hilltop Thrift Shop at Zion Episcopal Church on Cedar Street, hands over the last of a carload of donations, most of which came from a single donor eager to support the Pantry.

Also, our deepest gratitude to the regular weekly and monthly food donors: Scarsdale Women’s Club, Ardsley United Methodists, Ed & Diane Steinberg, Harold Brown, Stop ‘n Shop, Panera Bread, The Shop in Ardsley, New York Bagel Authority in Dobbs, and Mom’s Organic Market.

Incentive Systems: Ken Stahn of Ardsley United Methodist Church tells of a teacher who told her sixth-grade students at St. Francis of Assisi they wouldn’t have any weekend homework if the class collected non-perishable food and dropped it off at the March 19th AUM food drive for the DF Food Pantry.  The Pantry’s Monday morning Deliveries Team is starting to question how long the suspension on Ken’s SUV will last.

HELP!  Last December we issued urgent appeals for donations of diapers and also begged for Fresh Direct bags.  Well, the response was overwhelming and we are now knee-deep in FD bags and, in a manner of speaking, our diapers runneth over.  So, we’d like to dial back on the bags until further notice, and ask that you focus diaper donations on sizes 4 and 6 (we have plenty of 5s).  Seems the pandemic put the brakes on the birth rate in our service area, so there just isn’t that much of a demand right now for smaller sizes. Wipes and pull-ups are always welcome.

A Reminder About Shelf-Stable Food Donations: We welcome the care and concern our donors demonstrate each week, and it’s good practice on our part to repeat periodically certain safety guidelines for donations left at our donation box to the right of the South Presbyterian Church annex entrance.  Please check expiration dates. Any foods in glass containers present a breakage risk.  We cannot accept food or personal care items that have been opened or any prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs, or anything homemade.  We also don’t distribute religious publications or pamphlets.

Happy Spring, all!

This month’s Pantry newsletter written by Dobbs Ferry’s very own Duke Coffey, who can be found most days recently in the depths of the church’s basement, repairing and rebuilding 200 year-old church pews.

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February 2022

Hi Neighbors!

In addition to Groundhog Day and Valentine’s Day, did you know that February 17th was Random Acts of Kindness Day? We did our best to keep that day going all month here at the Pantry. This is thanks to the generous support we receive from Stop & Shop, MOM’S Organic Market, Panera, The Shop Ardsley, and New York Bagel Authority, and to all of you who send in cash donations and those who are sustaining members with monthly automatic donations!

We were so grateful to distribute Blizzard Boxes from the JCC on Hudson. These parcels were packed with items that are ideal for anyone dealing with food insecurity or stuck at home due to a storm, quarantine, or any other reason. They were very much appreciated by our clients.

A huge thanks also goes out to Dobbs Ferry Girl Scout Troop 1690 for their hard work collecting diapers and wipes. The Boy Scouts helped out too – Troop 24 hosted a food drive at Stop & Shop. They helped set-up the pantry alongside Seniors from the Dobbs Ferry High School who got up early on their school break to help out.

We so appreciate the generous contributions from the Dobbs Ferry Lutheran Church, who hosted a food drive in coordination with the “Souper Bowl of Caring”. A perfect name for a food drive in February!

There was also a Valentine’s Day surprise for our hard-working volunteers: treat bags filled with goodies and decorated with love from the children at Springhurst Elementary School. We are so lucky to be part of such a lovely and caring community!

How can you help? We have a bin for non-perishable donations to the left of the South Church’s double church doors with the mail slot. And please consider being a sustaining member – any amount on a regular, monthly basis is so helpful!

February Families Served:
February 2: 83 Families Total – this represents 258 people: 137 adults, 100 children and 21 seniors
February 9: 81 Families Total – this represents 238 people: 127 adults, 90 children and 21 seniors
February 15: 93 Families Total – this represents 259 people: 143 adults, 88 children and 28 seniors
February 22: 69 Families Total – this represents 206 people, 113 adults, 75 children and 18 seniors

This month’s newsletter written by Alisha Neumaier, who knows how to sell plant based meats to even the most rabid carnivores.

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January 2022

Happy New Year to all! I hope you had a wonderful holiday season and escaped the clutches of the Omicron virus.  Several of our hearty volunteers encountered it, but bounced back to again help out at the pantry.  The dedication of our team is so impressive.

If you are avid readers of our newsletter, you have grieved that we stopped doing weekly missives.  We decided to go monthly to cut down on some of the tasks our volunteers do on a weekly basis.  There are many behind the scenes activities we all do cheerfully.

This month we lucked out with the weather once again.  Only one mean Wednesday that required us to put up tents and rotate volunteers from outdoor to indoor duties to keep fingers and toes attached. Despite the cold, we all want to make sure our neighbors are taken care of and feel respected.  We appreciate getting positive feedback from those we support.  Here’s one of the thank you notes  we received.

Once again our dear friends at the Scarsdale Woman’s Club donated carloads of goods and many Stop and Shop gift cards.  We give those cards out during special holidays, so after Christmas and Hanukkah we needed to replenish  our resources.  Huge thank you to Rosemary King and all the members of the club.

Ardsley United Methodist Church also came through for us again, Ken Stahn’s car was crammed with food and household products he took time to give us on a Sunday.  We have enjoyed a long caring relationship with that congregation and we are forever grateful.

As part of Feeding Westchester, which receives food from the USDA, we had to be “inspected” by Monique McCoy, Manager for Agency Relations at Feeding Westchester.  We, at the pantry, were eager to show her how proud we are of our operations and our wonderful team.  Monique was incredibly impressed with the many stations we offer our neighbors that provide choice.  This included our “breakfast table” where cereal, milk, eggs , butter and other items are rotated through. Mom’s Organic table, bread table- where bagels from The Shop in Ardsley and The New York Bagel Authority and Panera goods are there for the taking. And our famous “Freebie” table that always has a wide range of items, from condiments to paper products.

So, for the pantry the beginning of the year was a success.  We continue to benefit from all your donations, both online and in person.  Special thanks goes to our sustaining donors-we know  we can really count on you!

May this year bring us all good health, compassionate caring and joy in the little things.

Be well, Vera. 

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December 29, 2021

2021 DF Food Pantry Year-end Highlights – Volume II

We continue with last week’s 2021 review of the interactions between the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry volunteers and the neighbor-clients who receive the benefits of your donations of food and money.

“For me, it was receiving a sweet thank-you note from one of our neighbors. She took the time to make it special and heartfelt.” – Vera Halpenny (co-director of the DF Food Pantry).

“Every week I make one delivery to a client neighbor who I’ve been told has medical and social issues that keep her in her apartment. Every week she buzzes me in and I haul a heavy bag up two long flights of stairs to her door. I knock and give her the highlights of what’s in the bag. We chit-chat a little. I tell her to have a good week and that I’ll be back next Wednesday. She has never opened the door. I only know her by her voice. But I feel a connection to her. And I hope she feels connected to me, too.” – Sharon Bilman, utility infielder/outfielder and the only volunteer who has a bridge (well, a ramp actually) named after her.

“Helping families fill out seasonal clothing forms – picking favorite colors, and sizes for their kids – is a wonderful addition to the pantry’s work.” – Anonymous

“As someone who regularly deals with receiving deliveries, I’ve long been intrigued by the food donations received each week by Aldersgate Methodist Church on Broadway across from Mercy College. It fills the donation box to the brim, but not once have I seen who delivers it. Whoever it was, I began to imagine someone skilled in the clandestine arts. I recently learned his name is Harold Brown of AMC. So, thank you, Harold, and Happy New Year.”—Duke Coffey (Cleaning & Engineering division).

***

Below is a letter written last week to Molly Rodriguez, our former director, by one of our long-time donors, a senior citizen recently laid off from her job:

“As both a donor … and a senior citizen recipient of the wonderful bounty at the pantry, I want to thank each and every one of you volunteers, including those who work behind the scenes making deliveries to people who need them. Over the years I have come to know so many of you, and I am still trying to put names and faces to the newer volunteers from Spring and elsewhere.

“I appreciate that there is now a table for returns from the closed boxes that make it so much easier to just get what is needed without having to take items that would be better for other recipients. I rarely take a box these days because there is only so much that I need in my pantry at home, since I live alone. When there is a surfeit of produce my neighbors all benefit when I share the excess. (Just how many potatoes, onions, carrots, etc. can one person eat in a week?) and I have always loved the chance to get the Artisanal breads that are donated. Thank you for helping me extend my weekly food budget and especially for the bounty of produce both summer and winter.

“I am indeed grateful to Molly Rodriguez who first introduced me to the pantry when she dropped off the original set of pantry fliers at [withheld] so many moons ago. Belated birthday wishes to her, and thank [Molly] for all of the work done in the past and even now behind the scenes in retirement.” – [Name Withheld]

***

Special Holiday shout-outs to:


– Kathy Dean, Susan DeGeorge and Robin Larkins who made the Kids Bag of Treats that were distributed at the pantry to all the children at our distribution last Wednesday before Christmas.


– Teen volunteers Devin, Holden, Daisy, Henry and Ryan who gave up the Wednesday morning of their week-long school break to labor non-stop from start to finish this week when there was much to be done and fewer hands to do it. We can’t thank them enough.

***

On the last Wednesday of 2021, we served a total of 74 families, totaling 211 people, more than we expected to see between Christmas and the New Year.

This week’s newsletter again written by our own Duke-of-all-trades Coffey.

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December 22, 2021- Caring in the Time of COVID

Hello, everyone out there in Donor Land. It’s me, the guy with the wrench and the mop.

I wanted to do a so-called “highlight reel” of the great things the Food Pantry provided its neighbors in 2021.  But we didn’t do them.  You did.  You did it with your donations of food and dollars, big and small.  You paid for the meal; we are the wait staff.

Since I work principally inside, it only made sense to ask the forward-facing volunteers who deal directly with our neighbor clients every Wednesday morning to share with you what they saw and felt this year, and list the highlights of FP 2021.  Here goes.

***

The number of neighbors we served peaked this year on April 28: 175 Families representing 623 Individuals (341 adults, 221 children, 61 seniors).  That was a five-fold increase compared with the average of 35 families we were serving in March 2020 when New York confirmed its first COVID-19 case.

“The number of volunteers also increased, and we were amazed at the caliber and dedication of the people who have shown up week after week to help feed the hungry with dignity and respect.” – Molly Rodriguez, co-founder of the FP and its director for 10 years, retired on April 28th and was succeeded by Vera Halpenny and Gretchen Skaggs as co-directors. 

Things got bad quickly in our service area among those who lost jobs, most especially day workers, restaurant employees and single parents.

In May and June, Dr. Nitin Gupta of Rivertowns Pediatrics, set up a clinic at the Pantry to administer first COVID-19 vaccines to a total of 28 clients who registered for the shots through the FP, and second shots six weeks later.

“I remember chasing after a client to make sure she got the second dose of vaccine from Dr. Gupta … We should really celebrate him for running the vaccine clinic considering everything else he does for the community,” – Ellen Crane, chair of SPRING Community Partners.

Children on average represent about 35% of the Dobbs Ferry client population.

“When our youngest clients, toddlers and preschoolers, ask me if they can take a small carton of milk or an apple, and are thrilled to receive it, I know that finally I’m in the right place at the right time.” – Kimberly Janeway.

“I love when handing a holiday cookie to a child, or gluten free bread set aside for a client who has dietary needs, they recognize that they are not just clients. They are friends and family to us.” — Donna Assumma.

As the year wore on, our fundraising efforts intensified to keep up with skyrocketing expenses.  Neighborhood food drives became more common.  Churches and synagogues were particularly large volume collectors of shelf-stable food, as was our neighborhood Stop & Shop supermarket on Broadway.

“What amazed me in 2021 was the sheer imagination of some of our donors.  Four-year-old Harry Greenberg raised $85.68 with his friends through the Share Your Wish Foundation.  Deborah Fantone asked her friends to donate loads of diapers to the FP rather than spend money on birthday presents for her.” – Anonymous (not his real name).

A large percentage of regular volunteers are seniors and look forward to the summer months when teens on vacation from high school volunteer their time at the FP (and do the heavy lifting).  They all appear to be above average, inventive and often hilariously funny.

One gentleman said it was a pleasure to find an organization for the unemployed middle class. Another client was grateful to the “young ‘uns” when we had the teenagers assisting them (during the summer). – Enzina Zaino.

“(Another) highlight for me would be rounding up so many teens to help last spring before they had to go back to school in-person in April.” – Ellen Crane, who ran what volunteers referred to as “Crane’s Impressment Gang.”

But a Food Pantry is about getting food to people who really need it.  Under the watchful eye of Eileen Quinlan, our Sorter-In-Chief, we are responsible for checking the condition and expiration dates of all donated food.  Anything opened is discarded, as are prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs.  The weekly haul sometimes yields surprises (a half full bottle of bourbon, for example) or a food product that no one on hand can identify.

“Every week Mark (Robinowitz) and I play games at the Freebie Table. We study the offerings, which can vary from the ordinary to the unusual (chocolate-covered insects, dried seaweed) to the sublime (Manuka honey). As each neighbor approaches, we present the item or items we think they’ll love best. Once in a while, if we have something that just isn’t moving, we’ll see which of us can ‘sell’ it first. I’m frequently surprised at how open to new flavors or cuisines some of our neighbors are.” – Ellen Klein, Resident Gourmet.

“I enjoy it when clients share their recipes and cooking techniques or otherwise let us know what they intend to do with the raw materials that we are privileged to offer.” – Bill Constant, who reportedly eats food daily.

“The thing I like most about the food pantry is that it reminds me of a farmer’s market. We all work together in our various roles to create a pleasant outdoor “shopping experience” for our clients. At the bread table, we talk about our favorite breads and pastries and why we like them. I can relate when someone says “no” to bagels, and “yes” to a bear claw. I enjoy seeing the same faces week after week. When I am at the pantry, I feel like I belong to a big hearted small-town community.” — Roubi Eliopoulos, volunteer since September

Though our neighbor clients are not shy about offering it, no one here is looking for anyone’s gratitude. And they would not be able to pick out of a lineup most of those volunteers who labor behind the scenes on filling boxes, produce bags, and cleaning, and moving inventory.

“My highlight was easy.  One day we’re sorting through a mountain of food donations when in marches this Girl Scout Troop (2305) and hands each of us some cookies and a hand-drawn “Thank You” card.  I still have mine on the refrigerator at home.” — Anonymous (Yeah, him again).

Just for the record, this past Wednesday before Christmas we served 104 families including 31 deliveries.

Our Christmas Week ended with another highlight.  Lisa Bai, a volunteer on the Tuesday night Produce Team, delivered fresh whole chickens for our clients, something we had ordered but ended up receiving free along with a cash donation from a mysterious organization called “Friends of Lisa Bai.”

So, that was 2021. Before you go to sleep tonight, give yourselves a pat on the back for these things your donations achieved for your most vulnerable neighbors as we get ready to answer the bell of COVID-19, Round Three.  And remember: we’re not only Americans, we’re New Yorkers.  We can do this.

And Happy New Year.

This week’s newsletter written by Duke “I can fix that!” Coffey.

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December 15, 2021

“We treat everyone with dignity and respect.” These were the first instructions I received when I started helping out at the food pantry. And every week I see the impact that dignity and respect has on all the people who come there. A few weeks ago I was cleaning up at the end of a busy Wednesday morning when I noticed a client was crying. I went to check on her and she told me that these are tears of relief. She had spent the morning with her aging parents who are not doing well. On the drive from them to the pantry she was worried that she’d be too late, the pantry would be closed. But when she got here, everyone was so kind to her. They made the extra effort to get her the food she’d need for the week. She could let go of the anxiety and feel cared for. Kindness and generosity, along with dignity and respect for everybody, from everybody, is at the heart of the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry. 

This week the pantry was filled with holiday cheer and our tables were overflowing with contributions. As part of New York State’s Restaurant Resiliency Program, Subway in Tuckahoe provided us with 100 boxed lunches with freshly made sandwiches, chips and cookies. Thank you Angelo, Paul and your wonderful crew! Our clients will be receiving these lunches throughout December.

Anne (Sweetie) Souza, from the group Mary’s Yarns, filled a table with beautiful handmade hats, scarves, and other winter-wear. Clients were delighted to choose from all her knitted gifts. Thank you to all the knitters and crafters who gave their handiwork!

Ingri Zuniga from the New York State of Health provided information about free/low-cost insurance for our clients. Thanks for coming, Ingri. 

We are always grateful for our weekly contributions from Mom’s Organic Market, The Shop, Panera, and the New York Bagel Authority. Please stop in and support these generous, local businesses. 

And many, many donations were delivered. Thank you to the United Methodist Church of Ardsley, and Scarsdale Woman’s Club.  We appreciate your thoughtful contributions. 

The Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry is run entirely by volunteers. Everything donated from cash to cans is used to help our clients. If you are making end-of-the-year donations, please consider supporting us. If your employer matches donations, we’ll be doubly grateful. Maybe consider starting a recurring monthly donation as a New Year’s resolution!

Wednesday night the Pantry volunteers gathered for a glass of holiday cheer.  From all of us to all of you, Happy Holidays!

This week’s newsletter written by Sharon Bilman who makes sure the church is so clean when we leave on Wednesdays, its congregants never knew we were there.

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December 8, 2021

Get to Work

After I left my career as a VP in media after 32 wonderful years I was ready to start part 2 of life and I’m honored to be the Outside Manager of the DFFP. There are quite a few similarities that transcend corporate life and pantry life. Instead of Wednesday morning meetings in the 18th floor conference room overlooking Central Park, my team meetings are under the trees facing Broadway. Like a corporate strategy meeting, once assignments are made and instructions reviewed, the volunteers take charge and get the job done. This team is dedicated, smart, professional and full hearted. As they set up each table, they keep in mind the clients being served…noting food that is gluten free, low sugar or lactose free.  And after everything is set up, we always step back and marvel at how it all always comes together in time.  The magic begins when our clients come through and you can actually see and feel all the relationships that are in place…it’s mutual love and respect. If a client misses a week, our volunteers take note and make sure all is okay when they return. The care and connection between the volunteers and the community we serve is really something to behold. This team is the best in the business.

The Holiday Blues?

Melt the blues away by giving back through weekly donations through PayPal or drop off groceries and diapers. Your generosity is truly appreciated. 

A Big Thanks

Go to our continued support from Stop & Shop, The Shop, Panera, Mom’s Organic Market and the New York Bagel AuthoritySubway is donating meals to the Food Pantry for the next three consecutive weeks! Please stop by these establishments and let them know how much you appreciate their contribution to the community.

This week’s newsletter written by the manager who bribes her volunteers with Dunkin’ Donuts, Donna Assumma.

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December 1, 2021

We hope everyone had a fulfilling Thanksgiving. The community was extra generous to the Pantry this past holiday week. Food drives filled the shelves and filled our tables with plenty for our clients’ feasts. They brought home fresh vegetables, gravy, stuffing, and even pies supplied by local Girl Scouts and other individuals.

Donations came in from many, many places. A huge thank you goes to Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh who held a food drive as part of their Dwiali celebration. They gathered 6,000 pounds of food and gave 1,500 pounds of it to us! Thank you to Legislator MaryJane Shimsky for making the connection. 

Unloading 1,500 pounds of donated food from Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh

Stop ‘n Shop and Feeding Westchester delivered their annual Fill-A-Bus food drive. Our neighbors at Cabrini, Masters School,  and Barre3 in Dobbs Ferry brought in donations. The United Methodist Church of Ardsley and the Boy Scouts filled many wagons with contributions. Even more donations came from Christian Preschool, Bryn Mawr Park Presbyterian Church in Yonkers, and Linda Jo Platt. 

Nora delivers donations from Barre3 in Dobbs Ferry
United Methodist church of Ardsley making delivery

Our shelves were overflowing with donations. To everyone who contributed, a heartfelt thank you!

A small part of the food that was donated Thanksgiving week. Wow!

This week we were back to the regular routine. We helped 95 families by providing nutritious food starting with breakfast right through to a midnight snack. We are grateful to include delicious donations from The Shop, Panera Bread, Mom’s Organic Market, and New York Bagel Authority

When you read the numbers in this newsletter, it’s the numbers of families that were helped. Some are families of one person while some have eight members. Each person that comes to the pantry is greeted with a smile and cared for as an individual. Gluten-free, or low-sodium, we got you covered. Every pantry volunteer takes an extra moment for the children that come with their parents. Some kids are helpers, pulling wagons, and making choices. While younger ones ride in the wagons tucked next to a bag of produce and diapers. Kids get big hellos usually along with a little snack so they know that the pantry is a friendly, fun place to come. We’re happy to see them. 

And going food shopping with kids is a great time to teach them about helping others. My kids like to pick out one thing for you and take a second one to give. Usually it’s their favorite cereal or after school snack. Then they add it to the donation box after we check out. It makes giving simple and part of the routine. You’re never too young to learn to help. 

This week’s newsletter was written by volunteer Sharon Bilman, who usually writes for kids under 12 years-old. 

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November 17, 2021

We were busy today serving 108 families (39 deliveries, 69 pickups) but not too busy to
ask folks what foods will be gracing their Thanksgiving tables. Having just read that only a
couple countries (Liberia, for one) observe the holiday, I was curious how foreign-born
Americans celebrate, if at all, and how they spin our traditional menu. It came as no surprise that many incorporate favorite dishes from their native cuisines. Chicken got the most votes, often roasted with lots of vegetables. A woman who hails from Jamaica and has a large extended family will be serving pork, turkey, chicken, and maybe even goat. (I forgot to find out what time dinner will be served.) More than one cook will have collard greens on the side. Lasagna and beans and rice might be added to the mix. When it comes to dessert, apple pie is a big favorite and one mentioned sweet potato pie.

Alex Kulpa from the Alcott Montessori School brought Thanksgiving essentials – a full carload!

The kinks in the global supply-chain affected us this week when our produce wholesaler couldn’t deliver. Their fleet is short five trucks, thanks to delays in the purchase of replacement vehicles during the pandemic, so they arbitrarily chose to eliminate us from the route. Not wanting to disappoint, Robin solved the problem by driving to the N.J. warehouse to pick up what would fit in her car.

Elena and daughter dropping off goods from the Masters School.

Thankfully, our wagons have runneth over with the outpouring of holiday-themed donations from the community. The Masters School did a food drive, as did the Alcott Montessori School and Scarsdale Woman’s Club. Today we set up a special holiday table with an assortment of essential fixings like stuffing, sweet potatoes and candied yams, gravy, and cranberry sauce. We also gave out Stop & Shop gift cards to enable our neighbors to buy the meat or poultry of their choice. This timely bounty was a festive addition to our regular offerings from The Shop, Panera Bread, Mom’s Organic Market, and New York Bagel Authority. Also, Stop & Shop partnered with Feeding Westchester for the annual Thanksgiving Fill-a-Bus food drive.

Gretchen, shown with store manager Jim Luksis, collecting food from Stop & Shop’s Fill-a-Bus drive.

Meanwhile, Bundles of Joy, a not-for-profit devoted to providing diapers to those in need, supplied stacks of diapers to us and other Westchester food pantries. I recently learned that diapers run about $70 per child per month, which explains why they are in such constant demand.

Viviana from Bundle of Joy surveys her stockpile of diapers awaiting pickup.

Looking ahead… remember that tonight (11/18) The Cookery will be giving us a cut of the proceeds, dine in or take out. Duck cannoli and cauliflower ravioli, anyone?

Bill welcomes a huge donation from Scarsdale Woman’s Club.

Next week, the food pantry will be open as usual in the morning and again on the last Wednesday evening of the month. But then, because most of us will need to roll up our sleeves to prepare our own feasts, we’ll take a week off from posting a blog entry. (Besides, our IT gal will be on her way to California.) We will be back in two weeks with a report of, among other things, the Dobbs Ferry Girl Scouts’ super-duper Thanksgiving pie giveaway.

Until then, let me thank you for your ongoing generosity and support. I wish y’all a holiday table full of friends, family, and yummy dishes – and maybe even goat.

This week’s newsletter written by the Pantry’s very own southern belle, Ellen Klein.

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