December 13, 2018

Good evening, everybody – yesterday we served a total of 35 families, including 67 adults, 51 children and 11 seniors.  We served 129 people yesterday.

Art therapist Stephanie Buck continues to visit the pantry every Wednesday, and more and more clients are beginning to enjoy the projects and art supplies she offers.  Yesterday clients were decorating little straw wreaths.  A couple of the clients looked for a place to hang the wreaths somewhere at the pantry, but everyone ended up taking them home.  While working on the wreaths the clients got a chance to talk about the holidays in their countries of origin and what memories the holidays bring up.  Thank you, Stephanie.
Volunteer Marc Taiano brought in a suggestion box, which we put where the clients sit and wait for their turn.  If anybody has an idea for a change or an improvement to the way we run the pantry, now they have an opportunity to have some input.
Last week we asked the clients for a list of their favorite fruits and vegetables.  This week Ellen followed that list when ordering the produce we offered for the clients to take home.
Once a month we receive a huge supply of produce from Feeding Westchester.  Ellen drives to Feeding Westchester in her van, and the Feeding Westchester staff packs all the produce into the back of the car.  She then drives to South Church, where hopefully some strong volunteers are waiting in order to unload all that produce, carry it into the church and put it all away.  This time we asked for volunteers from the clients, and three people said they’d be at church this coming Tuesday to help with putting away the produce.  Thank you, clients.
Elizabeth Hobson, director of the Dobbs Ferry Library, contacted us to say that the bin we keep at the library was overflowing, so she moved all the food into her office.  Benny picked it all up today, and we deeply appreciate the caring of the library patrons, plus the caring of Elizabeth for keeping the food in her office for us.
We continue dropping food off every week at Cabrini Immigrant Services for a family who recently arrived in this country and doesn’t feel ready to come directly to the pantry.  We’re looking forward to the day they walk through the door so that they can actually choose the food they want and we can meet them.
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December 5, 2018

Good evening, everybody – today we served a total of 26 families, including 50 adults, 40 children and 9 seniors.  We served 99 people today.

Irvington Boy Scout Troop 55 did a wonderful and highly successful food drive for us this past Saturday at Stop & Shop under the leadership of Heidi van Osdol and Jean Van der Spuy.  Who can resist a Boy Scout?  We stored everything upstairs in a storage room, and the boys were able to run up and down the stairs with bag after bag of food.  We started giving out the food and diapers today, and we’ll have some for several weeks to come.  Thanks to the boys as well as their leaders and parents – plus the customers themselves, who turned out to be concerned and generous.
Don’t let that stop anyone on this list from continuing to donate, though.  The need continues, and we always need monetary contributions as well as food and diapers.
We’ve been in touch with the food pantry at Mercy College, known as the Mav Market, and it’s up and running.  Twice now we’ve had food left over at noon, and we call Mary Sherman, the director, and she sends someone over to pick up the food.  Today we had bagels, oranges and bananas for them.  They’re doing a very important job over there at Mercy.  I know there are students who are just scraping by, trying to pay for college as well as eat.
Today we followed up on one of Jen Cadenhead’s suggestions for how to involve the clients more in how we run the pantry.  The clients agreed on a list of fruits and vegetables they would most like us to order when we order from Peapod.  We may not always be able to order what they want, but at least we know what they like.  Thanks, Jen.
Our resident art therapist, Stephanie Buck, has been coming regularly for several weeks, and the clients have started seeking her out.  There are several clients who spend time with her every week working on art projects and talking about what they’re creating and what it brings up for them.

 

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December 1, 2018 – Troop 55 doing a food drive for the pantry at Stop & Shop – Thanks, guys!

 

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Days of Wonder Daycare three-year-old class presenting the pantry with the makings for a Thanksgiving dinner

thanksgiving 2018 - three-year-olds

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November 21, 2018

Good evening, everybody – today we served a total of 43 families, including 79 adults, 49 children and 19 seniors.  We served 190 people today.

Today we were visited by the three-year-old class of the Days of Wonder daycare center, which is right in our building.  They presented us with a beautiful box which contained everything you could need for a Thanksgiving celebration – including a turkey!  I’m enclosing a photo of the children presenting us with this Thanksgiving gift.  They’re adorable!  We raffled off the box, and one of our clients went home with the entire fixings for tomorrow’s dinner.
Jen Cadenhead, our resident nutritionist, did a focus group a couple of weeks ago with some of our clients.  She then wrote up four pages of feedback from our clients for us to think about and talk about.  One thing she suggested was for us to look for ways for the clients to be more involved in the actual planning and running of the pantry.  Sounds like a good idea, doesn’t it?  Don’t know why we never thought of it before.  Anyway, we’ll be mulling these notes over in the near future.  Thank you, Jen!
This morning before any of us had arrived, a man came and left an entire box of canned and bottled foods for us.  It turned out that absolutely everything in the box had expired a long time ago.  And to think that he went to all that trouble of loading it into a box and bringing it to us.  We have no idea who he was, so we can’t warn him about this, or even give it back to him to dispose of.  Now it’s up to us to get rid of the food.  I know everybody on this list checks for expiration dates before donating food to us, but a lot of people out there have no idea that we can’t use what they donate to us.  Please, everybody, tell your friends to check dates before bringing food to us.  Let’s spread the word!
May everybody have a great holiday tomorrow.  And thanks from us to you!
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November 14, 2018

Good afternoon, everybody – today we served a total of 37 families, including 78 adults, 46 children and 11 seniors.  We served 135 people today.

A sensei from Edge Martial Arts at 145 Palisade Street in Dobbs Ferry came today with a large number of bags of food from children who are students at his martial arts studio.  Each bag had different foods in it, and each bag had a personal note in it.  Before the pantry was over we had given out all the bags of food.  What a thoughtful thing to do right at the holidays.  We hadn’t been aware that there was a martial arts studio at 145 Palisade, but now we’re well aware of them and how caring and concerned they are.
As they do every week, Westchester Milk delivered a case of milk to us this morning, but in addition, they included two turkeys!  They’ve brought a lot of different foods in addition to milk.  Two happy clients went home with a turkey today.
I got an e-mail from Mary Sherman, the VISTA volunteer who’s spending a year at Mercy College, organizing a food pantry like the one they have at their Bronx campus.  In her e-mail today she said that the food pantry at the Dobbs Ferry campus is up and running.  She asked us to share with them any food we have left over.  It turned out that we had extra bread and bagels left over this morning.  I texted Mary and she immediately sent a student over to pick up the bagels.  Maybe we’ll be able to help each other out from now on!
Another generous group is the Ardsley United Methodist Women.  Their President, Judy Whelan, dropped in this morning and delivered a large number of Stop & Shop gift cards for our clients.  We’ll give them out next week.  Everybody at Ardsley Methodist is wonderful, but especially the AUMC women.  And don’t forget, they have a new thrift shop, which is open on Thursdays.  Zion Episcopal also has a thrift shop on Thursdays, and I understand that they’re both very popular.  We have plenty of places to buy things at reasonable prices, and to donate things, too.

Virus-free. www.avg.com

 

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November 9, 2018

Good afternoon, everybody – last Wednesday we served a total of 34 families, including 59 adults, 43 children and 18 seniors.  We served a total of 120 people on Wednesday.

Benny, Ellen and I had a wonderful time representing the pantry last Sunday at the Irvington Farmers’ Market.  The weather was perfect, and everybody was in a good mood.  People were generous with their donations into our cash donation basket, and one woman brought shelf-stable food as well.  People who didn’t know about us accepted brochures as well.
A student from the Masters School left me a message that the students have collected food for us for Thanksgiving.  They’re planning to deliver the food next week.  We appreciate everyone’s concern for us at the holidays.
I attended a fascinating discussion about bees at the Dobbs Ferry Woman’s Club on Monday.  Lo and behold, they had collected several bags of food for us, and one woman made a cash donation as well.  I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, plus I learned a lot about bees (colony collapse disorder is still a big concern).
Expressive arts therapist Stephanie Buck has been with us every Wednesday for several weeks now, and people are beginning to seek her out.  Instead of sitting and waiting to be called to pick out their food, they’re meeting with Stephanie in order to write and draw.  When it’s their turn to choose their food, we come and get them.  Hope Stephanie can continue this for a long, long time.
We were contacted by Feeding Westchester, letting us know they’ve heard from NY State of Health.  They’d like to send a trained staff person to each pantry in November or December, set up a table, and discuss possible free or low-cost health insurance with our clients.  Monique McCoy from Feeding Westchester says staff from NY State of Health did this last year and they were able to connect with people who qualified for health insurance and didn’t know it.   We’re waiting to be contacted by them, and we’ll be glad to cooperate.
We so appreciate the donations, both cash and food, that people have made to us recently.  Please don’t forget about us in January.

 

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November 2, 2018

Good morning, everyone – this past Wednesday we served 32 families in the morning, including 59 adults, 35 children and 15 seniors.  Then in the evening we served another 10 families with 20 adults, 15 children and 2 seniors for a total of 42 families with 79 adults, 50 children and 17 seniors.  We served a total of 147 people that day.  In the month of October we served 164 families and 551 people.  We averaged 33 families per week and 110 people per week.

Expressive arts therapist Stephanie Buck was with us again on Wednesday and worked with several children and several adults.  The clients really enjoy meeting with Stephanie to draw and talk.  A couple of clients specifically asked for Stephanie when they first arrived.  Stephanie’s hunch was that people really have a lot on their minds, and drawing and talking about what they’ve drawn may help.  She’s right!
PhD candidate Jen Cadenhead scheduled a focus group made up of several of our clients for this morning (Friday) to discuss nutrition and healthy eating.  I talked to her briefly and she said it went well except that one woman really didn’t speak much English and didn’t grasp what was being talked about.  We may try to pull together a group of Spanish-speaking women, since  many of our clients are Spanish-speaking, with someone to translate.
The Rivertowns Rotary Club has been working with a group of students at St. Christopher’s School in Dobbs Ferry.  Several of the Rotarians escorted some of the students from house to house on October 30 to gather shelf-stable items for the pantry.  On Wednesday when the pantry was in process Greg Neff, the president of Rivertowns Rotary, and Dr. Nitin Gupta, who is an active member, delivered several huge boxes of food and other products which the children had picked up from the houses.  The Rivertowns Rotary had advertised this effort beforehand, and people either directly donated the food or left food in front of their houses on the particular streets that were visited by the group.  Once again, I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the people in this village and groups like the Rotary Club for carrying out this tremendous effort.  Greg and Nitin are planning to do this again next year!
This morning I heard from English teacher Diana Castellano at Dobbs Ferry High School, telling me they want to encourage a spirit of giving in the students at the high school.  She and another teacher are going to organize a food drive among the students, similar to what they’ve been doing at Springhurst.  They’ll be delivering the food to us on November 15 or 16.  I’ll be there to meet the students.  I asked them to focus on providing diapers and wipes, among other products.  No matter how many diapers we receive, they come in and go out as soon as we get them.
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food pantry after a food drive for us at Springhurst School – thanks to students, parents and staff, especially Nola and Sharon

pantry after springhurst

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October 29, 2018 – letter to the Enterprise

To the Editor:

 Every fall people come from far and wide to the attic sale at Irvington Presbyterian Church.  It’s so popular and so many items are donated that the parishioners work all summer and fall to get everything organized and labeled.  Because of all their hard work, the proceeds from the sale are huge and, after expenses, all the money is given to charities.  This year, the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry was one of the lucky recipients of a generous donation from the Irvington Presbyterian Women’s Association.

 The Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry has received donations from the Women’s Association in the past as well, and we are eternally grateful that they have remembered us again.  The money will be put to use during November and December to provide our hungry clients with food to celebrate the holidays.  We thank everybody at the Irvington Presbyterian Church for their attitude, through the years, of help and caring. 

Submitted by Molly Rodriguez, Director, the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry at                                                          South Presbyterian Church 

October 29, 2018

 

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