July 20, 2017

Good morning, everybody – Yesterday we served a total of 38 families, including 65 adults, 56 children and 6 seniors.  On the third Wednesday of the month we give out flour and oil in addition to the foods we routinely stock.  It’s expensive, so we can only afford to offer it once a month.  Even if they don’t make it on other Wednesdays, everybody arrives on the third Wednesday, in order to pick up their flour and oil.

Thanks to Barbara, I went to the Verizon e-mail site to register for ten free, filled backpacks for pantry clients.  People drew numbers yesterday, and ten clients will go to Verizon this Sunday, accompanied by a child, to pick up their backpack.  Since this was advertised on Facebook, and they were only offering 100 backpacks, it’ll be interesting to see if any of our clients get there in time.  We like to help people out with things other than food when we can.

The Westchester Hispanic Coalition in White Plains will be visiting us twice in August – once on August 2 and again on August 16.  The WHC offers many programs, and not just for Latino people, either.  This is a chance for our clients to learn more about what’s available.  And there’s no charge for any of their services, so even people who are struggling can avail themselves of WHC’s services.

Lyn will be picking up our CSA this Sunday.  They’ll be offering cherry tomatoes, summer squash, lettuce, pickle cucumbers, potatoes, mint and possible cauliflower.  Plus more blueberries.  The blueberries went fast yesterday.  And Marc has been providing us with produce from the garden on Sunday mornings as well.

Yesterday when the pantry was finished there was some bread left over, as well as some herbs from the Roots & Wings garden.  The Irvington Senior Center is always happy to take whatever we have left over.  Thanks to Eileen, not only for picking up the bread at Stop & Shop every Wednesday but then for driving whatever we have left over to Irvington.   She works hard for the pantry.

This Sunday I’ll be representing the pantry at the Irvington Farmers’ Market at their community table, just like last year.  The Irvington Farmers’ Market, Sundays from 9:00 to 1:30, has a wonderful vibe to it.  Delicious food, of course, but also live music and a place to sit, listen to the musicians and eat whatever you bought.  Maybe some people on this list will be there.

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July 12, 2017

Good afternoon, everybody – neither Lyn nor I were at the pantry today, yet it ran like a well-oiled machine.  We served 27 families today, including 44 adults, 38 children and 7 seniors.

In addition to the produce from the CSA today, there was also fresh fruit, which we ordered from Stop & Shop’s Peapod, and beautiful herbs from the Roots & Wings garden – including basil!

Next week the Food Bank for Westchester will be honoring the Giving Circle of Lower Westchester, which is a group that has given us a number of generous grants.  Someone from the pantry will be there at the presentation, just to shake hands with the people who do this hard work to keep pantries going.

Next Sunday the CSA will be picked up by Tricia, and will include zucchini, cucumbers, red-leaf amaranth (also known as summer spinach or calaloo), parsley, tomatoes, beets, onions and possibly blueberries – a little of everything.  And we’ll see what we find in the garden.

Barbara sent us an announcement she found on Facebook, saying that Verizon will be giving away a small number of free backpacks (100).  You need to bring a ticket to get a backpack, so I registered with them and was able to print out ten tickets.  We’ll raffle the tickets off next Wednesday to see who are the ten lucky people who can get free backpacks.

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July 5, 2017

Good afternoon, everybody – today we served a total of 26 families, including 39 adults, 32 children and 8 seniors.

Carol needed a hand truck to bring all the food donated this week by Zion Episcopal Church in Dobbs Ferry.  It turns out that a family affiliated with Zion had a party and encouraged all their guests to bring food for the pantry.  What a kind thing to do!  We ended up with multiple boxes filled with pasta, dried beans, soups and many other foods.  Much love goes out to that family and to Zion.

Last Wednesday we had so much produce after both the morning and evening pantries that Eileen ended up carrying a huge box of fruit and vegetables to the Irvington Seniors.  They were amazed at how much food she brought.  And this week Tom dropped bread off to them also.

Tricia brought more applications for a free child’s mattress to the pantry today, and we gave them all out, listing the pantry as the referral source.  Let’s see if Ashley Home Store can provide more of our clients with mattresses.

Next Wednesday, July 12 and 13, are the days that The Church of St. Barnabas in Irvington will be having their summer and vintage clothing sale.  Wednesday the sale runs from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., and Thursday it’s from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  And the proceeds go to charities!  The Church of St. Barnabas is a very loving and caring church.

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June 30, 2017

Good afternoon, everybody – on Wednesday in the morning we served a total of 31 families, including 55 adults, 46 children and 11 seniors.  Then in the evening Benny and I served another 5 families with 9 adults and 8 children.  This brings us to a total of 36 families with 64 adults, 54 children and 11 seniors.  We averaged 27 families a week in June.   For the six months from January to June we averaged 29 families a week.

This past Wednesday we had both our monthly green thumb allotment of fruits and vegetables from the Food Bank together with what we got from the CSA, and even some beautiful lettuce from the Roots and Wings garden.  People went home LOADED with fresh produce, plus Benny took a bag of bread and danishes from Topps Bakery in Bronxville down to the Dobbs Ferry Senior Center, and Eileen took a huge supply of strawberries and vegetables to the Irvington Senior Center the next day.  Our monthly green thumb allotment was much bigger than usual because it was the end of the Food Bank’s fiscal year and they were giving extra food to all the pantries.  Ellen and Eileen had to turn some food away, actually.  In addition to the produce, they gave us so much bread that our new freezer (thanks, Mahoneys) is stuffed with bread and rolls for next Wednesday.  What a week!

This coming Wednesday we’ll have tomatoes, zucchini flowers, basil, swiss chard, tat soi (?), lettuce and cherries from the CSA, and we’ll see what we find in the garden.  Summer is here!!

Thanks to Carol for bringing food to us from Zion Episcopal.  Zion is one of our most reliable, weekly suppliers of food for the pantry, and Carol brings it to us faithfully.

At Carol’s behest we’re handing out as many jars of peanut butter as possible to the clients.  When the Food Bank did that county-wide food drive at all the Stop & Shops, every shopper bought at least one jar of peanut butter for us.  It was amazing how everyone bought the same item.  Our shelves have been groaning with peanut butter, so on Wednesday every client went home with a giant jar of peanut butter.  Good for the children in summer, since they don’t get lunch at school like they do during the year.

A couple of weeks ago Tricia went shopping for furniture at Ashley Home Store on Central Park Avenue in Yonkers.  While she was there they gave her some flyers for people to fill out and apply for a free mattress.  She brought them to the pantry and we gave them out.  There was a referral section, so we put down that the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry was referring the person.  One of our clients came away with two mattresses and another got one mattress.  Tricia’s going to see if she can get some more of those flyers.  A shout-out to Ashley Home Stores for coming up with this offer.!

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June 22, 2017

Good afternoon, everybody – yesterday we served a total of 24 families, including 39 adults, 39 children and 6 seniors.

Our clients were happy that the CSA has started again, and we’ll have fresh produce for them every week.  This coming Wednesday we’ll have lettuce, tomatoes, radishes, onions. cilantro, purslane and strawberries.

A volunteer who cares very much for the pantry came up to me at the CSA and told me she had brought two bags of shelf-stable food for the pantry to give to me while we were at the CSA.  She had tried a couple of times to leave food for the pantry and the church was closed and locked, so she thought this would be a good solution.  And she said she’ll be bringing more food for the pantry on Sunday mornings.  Thanks so much to this volunteer and to anybody else who would like to bring food to us while we’re at the CSA on Sunday mornings.

We’ve received three donations from the Share Your Wish organization recently.  It’s an organization based in Irvington that encourages families who are having a birthday party for their children to suggest that  people make a donation to a charity instead of bringing a gift for the birthday child.  And, of course, the child must agree, too.  Three children – one five-year-old, one six-year-old and one nine-year-old – have agreed for guests to donate to us instead of bringing a gift.  Pretty impressive!  Thanks so much to the Schleifer family for creating the Share Your Wish organization.

Yesterday we were joined again by Giuliana Urrelo, representing the Westchester Hispanic Coalition.  She’s coming back next month with an attorney affiliated with WHC to answer any questions people have about immigration concerns.

And the Food Bank for Westchester is sponsoring a workshop, led by the Catholic Charities agency, entitled “Know Your Rights”, which will address the same thing.

While Giuliana was with us she talked over the phone to one of our clients who needs to move to a larger apartment.  The Westchester Hispanic Coalition, in addition to everything else, offers listings of available apartments and job openings.

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June 15, 2017

Hello everybody – yesterday we served a total of 28 families, including 44 adults, 47 children and 7 seniors.
Earlier in the week we had received an e-mail from the Food Bank, offering FREE vegetables!  I went over there and got a 50-pound bag of potatoes (it didn’t occur to me to think about how I would handle that huge bag when I got to the church), a 50-pound bag of carrots, cucumbers, two kinds of squash, lettuce, bananas and cantaloupe.  Miraculously, I called Bruce Platt and he dropped everything to come over to church and help me transport everything from my car into the church kitchen – including those 50-pound bags!  Bruce, you are truly a hero!!
The Food Bank warned you to go over the produce after you picked it up, and we did have to throw out many bananas and some squash, but our clients still went home laden with plenty of fresh produce this week.
And this Sunday the CSA starts.  We bought a share, plus the farmer, Dan King of Rexcroft Farm, donates a share to us.  Thanks to Dan and to Roots & Wings for setting this all up for us.  This week we’ll be picking up hydroponic tomatoes, lettuce, radish, mint, spinach, strawberries and possibly peas.  They warned that the spinach will have bites out of it because they use no chemical pesticides at Rexcroft Farm, but it will be delicious anyway.
Marc Taiano tells me the kitchen garden behind the church is off to a slow start because of the terrible weather this spring, but soon we’ll be able to harvest from the garden just as we did last summer.
And this past Wednesday several of our pantry clients wandered around the labyrinth in front of the church, picking various herbs they found there, including an herb called “ruda”, which is used to revive someone who has fainted.
Lyn represented us this past Wednesday at a meeting of pantries affiliated with the Food Bank.  Thank you, Lyn.  One of the topics was how immigration issues are affecting pantries.  We’ll see what they had to say.
The Giving Circle of Lower Westchester has given us a large grant, which will be applied directly to the Food Bank.  They are a wonderful and caring organization, and we appreciate their help.
Speaking of help, please remember us over the summer.  Once school ends, the children can’t count of those free and reduced-fee lunches at school, so families must scramble even harder to feed their families.  Bring shelf-stable food to the church or send us a check made out to South Presbyterian Church with “pantry” in the memo line.  Or use the Pay Pal feature on our website (www.dobbsferrypantry.org).  Or contact me or Lyn at 914-693-0473 and we’ll let you know how you can best help.
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June 8, 2017

Good afternoon, everyone – Yesterday we served a total of 18 families, including 32 adults, 21 children and 4 seniors.
While the pantry was going on I was able to hand out a flyer from an organization by the name of whyhunger.org.  It was advertising places where children could eat meals for free during the summer.  If you texted your zip code to a particular number they came back with places near your zip code where children could eat.  In our area there are four schools in Yonkers, a school in Mount Vernon and a school in White Plains.  And there’s no residence requirement or income requirement, so any child or adolescent could eat at any of these addresses.  It’s important during the summer because many of our clients’ children count on free or reduced-fee lunches in school for a healthy meal.  That’s how our pantry got started in the first place, and it’s why donations of food and money to the pantry are especially important during the summer, when food-insecure people count on pantries even more.
We now have our freezer in the kitchen of South Church!  Once a month we’ll be adding frozen meats, chicken, fish or whatever else the Food Bank has to offer so that our clients can get that extra protein in addition to shelf-stable sources (tuna, peanut butter, etc.)  Thanks again to the Mahoney family for making it possible to us to purchase this freezer.  We’ll make good use of it!
Last week I was thanking Tom for picking up 40 pounds of food at the Irvington Library and bringing it to the pantry, but I forgot that Carol had also brought a huge donation of food from Zion Episcopal as well.  I’d like to give a shout-out to all of our volunteers who are there week after week on Wednesday mornings, plus everyone is so willing to give of their time and effort at other times during the week as well.  This team works like a well-oiled machine, and has for years now.
I got the word that our CSA will be starting June 18 and will run until the fall.  We’ll have fresh produce for everyone every week!  Plus the Roots & Wings garden, which also has a dedicated team that works hard every year, is coming along as well.  My hat is off to everyone who works in the garden.
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June 2, 2017

 

Hello, everybody – Wednesday morning we served a total of 30 families, including 54 adults, 44 children and 6 seniors.  Then in the evening we served another 15 families of 25 adults, 18 children and 4 seniors. This means we served a total of 45 families with 79 adults, 62 children and 10 seniors. We served an average of 30 families a week in May.
On Wednesday we were again visited by Giuliana Urrelo from the Westchester Hispanic Coalition.  We set up a table and she stayed with us for about an hour in the morning.  Several clients sat with her and chatted.  They also looked over her handouts describing the various services offered by WHC.   Since this was the second time she visited, the clients were more comfortable with her and they talked to her a little more.  She’s coming back for a third time on June 21.  I’m glad we can inform people about places they can go to for help.
We’ve arranged for our monthly allotment of produce from the Food Bank to be picked up by Ellen and Eileen on the last Wednesday of the month.  That way the people who come in the evening can also go home with some produce.  People love the fresh fruits and vegetables, and Ellen sends out a text message every month to all the clients, advising them that there will be produce the next day.  Hopefully our CSA share will be starting soon, and we’ll have produce every week again like we did last summer.  And they’re working hard in the Roots & Wings garden, so that will be happening for our clients soon also.
Wednesday morning while we were at the pantry we got a call from Greenburgh Town Hall, letting us know there was food in the bin we’ve placed there.  Benny and I drove over and picked up what people had donated, including a case of twelve cans of black beans – a favorite of our clients.  Then yesterday Tom W. went to the Irvington Library and brought back 40 pounds of food, which he left in our storage area upstairs at South Church (thanks, Tom).  And Benny will be checking the bin at the Dobbs Ferry Library as well.  Also, I was in contact with a woman on the Facebook page 10522, and she dropped off a supply of dog food.  Very few of our clients have pets, but those who do face the expense of feeding their animals while also feeding themselves.  One grateful client took some dog food.  And the woman on the 10522 page said she’ll keep us in mind for future donations.
This coming Sunday there will be a walking tour of Dobbs Ferry historical properties along Broadway and Clinton Avenue.  It’s presented by the Dobbs Ferry Historical Society, and South Presbyterian Church is one of the historical properties.  The tour is from 1:00 to 4:00.  You can find out more information by visiting the Historical Society’s website at www.DobbsFerryHistory.org, or just give them a call at 674-1007.  I’ll be at the Manse, which is where the South Church pastor lives and is part of the tour.  Would love to see some of the people on this list at the Manse on Sunday.
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May 24, 2017

 

Good afternoon, everybody – today we served a total of 20 families, including 35 adults, 21 children and 4 seniors.
Last Saturday Lyn and I and our husbands attended a meeting in Ossining about immigration issues.  Afterwards they put on a cantata entitled “Manos Indocumentadas” (Undocumented Hands).  It was so well done that we’re thinking of inviting the group to perform here at South Church, maybe in the fall, as a fundraiser for the pantry.  Will keep everybody posted.
We got a wonderful letter from an organization by the name of the Society of the Friendly Sons of St. Patrick in Westchester.  They said that they’re a fraternal organization that celebrates their common heritage but they’re also committed to providing charitable assistance to those in need.  Not sure how they learned about us but they’ve pledged a significant amount to the Food Bank to help us provide food to our clients.  What a great organization, and what a great surprise!
Next Wednesday we’ll be visited again by the Westchester Hispanic Coalition.  Our network is growing, and that’s a good thing.
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May 17, 2017

Good evening, everybody – today we served a total of 34 families, including 58 adults, 42 children and 8 seniors.
Today we were visited by an organization by the name of the Westchester Hispanic Coalition.  Two young women set up a table and gave information and flyers out to those clients who expressed interest.  The WHC is making a big domestic violence effort, and they had information, in English and Spanish, about their 24-hour hotline for victims of abuse.  They also had information about immigration and many other services they offer – and all for free!  They’re going to come every other week for the next couple of months so that people can get to know and feel comfortable with the women and the agency.  I’m delighted that they’re available to come more than once.
This past Saturday was the food drive sponsored by the Dobbs Ferry Post Office.  Maybe some of you on this list put some food out for your mail carrier.  Yesterday three strong men – Bob Beach, Bruce Platt and our own Tom Warren – gathered at the Post Office, hauled all of that food back to the church and carried it all to the office upstairs.  Thanks so much to all three of you men, who so quickly jumped in to do such exhausting work.  And then today it was all carefully sorted and placed by Carol and Tricia.  This pantry is a wonderful, cooperative volunteer organization.
We actually got donations from two brothers – one five years old and one nine years old – in response to the Share Your Wish organization.  They are very effective, and they teach kids an important message about sharing what you have with others.  It’s a great way to teach empathy at an early age.
The Mahoney/Olson family is doing it again – since they provided diapers, baby wipes and hand lotion for Mothers’ Day, they’re deciding what to come up with for Fathers’ Day.  A virtual hug to everyone in the family.  They’re a caring, generous bunch.
Summer is here!  Hope it lasts!
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