January 16, 2019

Good evening, everybody – today we served a total of 27 families, including 51 adults, 32 children and 12 seniors.  We served 95 people today.

I was contacted by Patricia Straub, one of the parents of the Dobbs Ferry High School football team, which had a banner year this year.  As they have for the past several years, they’ll be doing a food drive for us at Stop & Shop on Saturday, February 2.  That’s the day before Super Bowl Sunday, so there should be many people shopping that day.  Please, everybody on this list do a little shopping at Stop & Shop that day, and buy something extra for the pantry.
At Springhurst they’re doing their second food drive of the year for us also, and Nola Long will be dropping the food off in a couple of weeks.  We need this food because donating drops off after the holidays.  I’m glad we can always count on the Dobbs Ferry schools for support.
Another support we can always count on are the local churches.  Ken Stahn dropped off fifteen bags of food from Ardsley United Methodist two days ago, and today Carol walked in with an entire cart’s worth of food from both Zion Episcopal and Dobbs Ferry Lutheran.  These churches have been caring for us for years.
This coming Monday Marc, Benny and I will be giving a brief presentation at Woodlands Community Temple.  It’s a combination of Martin Luther King Day and and the Jewish Arbor Day, and they’re celebrating environmental justice by donating to our Pantry.  We appreciate the people at Woodlands thinking of us, as they have through the years, and we’re glad to have a chance to educate everybody who comes about the pantry and Roots & Wings.

 

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January 9, 2019

Good afternoon, everybody – today we served a total of 24 families, including 47 adults, 42 children and 6 seniors.  We served 97 people today.

I placed an order today for a share of the CSA from Fable Farms in Ossining for the pantry.  We bought a share last summer, and Tom, the farmer, donated another share to us, plus we received a third share from the coordinator, who donated her share to us. Tom also always gave us whatever was left over after the delivery on Sunday mornings, so we had plenty of fresh produce for our clients.  If anybody on this list is interested in learning more about Fable, their website is www.fablefoods.com.  It’s amazing that there’s an actual farm in suburban Ossining.
One of our clients volunteers at another food pantry in Yonkers once a month.  A couple of days ago that pantry had a lot of produce left over, and they planned to throw it out.  Our client protested, and instead brought home enough produce that she was able to give some to all the people at her church, some to all her neighbors, and she still had enough left over that she gave a huge supply to us.  We ended up giving lots of produce to our clients, thanks to one of our clients!  We’re going to coordinate with her every second Monday to see what she can bring to us, so nothing goes to waste.  She also took the e-mail address of the Mercy College food pantry (MAV Market), and she’ll see if she can supply them with some fruits and vegetables as well.  So,nothing goes to waste.
We’ve been dropping food off at Cabrini Immigrant Services for a family so new to the country that they were anxious about coming in person to get food at the pantry.  Our volunteer, Andrew, suggested to the staff at Cabrini every week that they encourage the family to gather up their courage and come in person to pick up some food.  Today Lorraine, the director of Cabrini, called to say that the family will be coming to the pantry starting next week!  We’ll welcome them and make sure they feel safe to come every week.
We’re wondering if anybody who has been furloughed by the federal government will arrive at the pantry for some food.  We’ll be glad to help until they’re receiving a paycheck again.
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January 3, 2019

Good evening, everybody – yesterday we served a total of 20 families, including 38 adults, 23 children and 8 seniors.  We served a total of 69 people yesterday.

We’ll be ordering a CSA (community-supported agriculture) share again this year.  It’s from FABLE in Ossining, which was the same farm as last summer.  It will last for twenty weeks, beginning in late May or early June.   Last year the farmer donated an extra share to us, so let’s hope he can do the same this year.  Plus we hang around until the CSA is finished on a Sunday morning and he gives us all the leftovers.  When our pantry started out, we offered only canned fruits and vegetables.  Now our clients are used to fresh produce, and they look forward to it every week.
Our volunteers Benny and Mary Anne will be talking to the Greenburgh Town Board about the pantry – what we do and how we do it.  This was Paul Feiner’s idea, just so more people will know about the pantry.  They’ll hand out brochures and answer whatever questions people have.  Thanks to both of you for doing this.
Benny, Marc and I will also be talking about the pantry and Roots & Wings at Woodlands Community Temple on January 21, when their Social Action Committee is having a pancake breakfast with funds going to the pantry.  Roberta Roos, who’s chairing the event, wants people to be thinking about what more they can do to encourage social justice throughout the community.  We’re lucky Woodlands is in our community because their commitment to reaching out to everybody around them is inspiring to all of us.
This month the Kids Can campaign at Springhurst will be doing another food drive for us.  We received many food donations around the holidays, but in January and February our edible and monetary donations fall off a little, so we need the caring and support of the parents, teachers and kids at Springhurst.  And of the people on this list as well!
Hope everybody had a safe and exciting and/or restful New Year’s.
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December 27, 2018

Good afternoon, everybody – yesterday in the morning we served 18 families, including 41 adults, 27 children and 8 seniors.  Then in the evening we serve 7 more families with 15 adults, 12 children and 3 seniors, for a total of 25 families, including 56 adults, 39 children and 11 seniors.  We served 106 people yesterday.  We averaged 34 families a week in December, and 130 people a week.  In 2018 we averaged 30 families a week, and it was the same in 2017.  This past year we were closed three times due to bad weather, and we were also closed on July 4.

Nora, our newest volunteer, followed through and went to Greenburgh Town Hall to check the food-donation bin.  The bin was overflowing with donations, including baskets of goodies.  She brought it all back to us in her truck, and she’ll continue checking the bins for us on a regular basis.  I had warned her to check expiration dates, and she ended up getting rid of several items that had expired long ago, including something that had expired in 2004.  If items have expired only a few months before, we’ll put them into our miscellaneous box and allow the clients to look through them.  Some clients are more sensitive about expiration dates than others, but Feeding Westchester doesn’t approve of having expired foods on our shelves.
Dr. Nitin Gupta, Dobbs Ferry’s newest pediatrician, dropped in with some toys to give away as gifts.  Clients were allowed to choose one gift, and we still have some for next week.  Thank you so much, Dr. Gupta, and we’re glad to have you in Dobbs Ferry.
Dr. Gupta’s mother-in-law was with him, and offered to work with us at the pantry on Wednesdays.  She’ll be with us next Wednesday, and we’ll put her to work.
The Ardsley United Methodist Women had given us a gift of Stop & Shop gift cards for our clients.  We gave them out to our evening clients last night.  Thank you so much, AUMC, both the church itself and the Women’s Association.  What would we do without our beloved churches, who carry us and support us throughout the year.
Hope everybody is enjoying the holidays, isn’t too exhausted, and has a great New Year’s.  See you next year.
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December 19, 2018

Good evening, everybody – today we served a record total of 50 families, including 96 adults, 73 children and 18 seniors.  We served 187 people today.

This past Monday two different classes from Dobbs Ferry High School, led by their teacher, Diana Castellano, delivered food they collected for the pantry.  Volunteer Eileen gave them a quick tour of the pantry before they returned to class.  Tomorrow, one more class will be bringing food for us.  I’ll show them around as quickly as I can.  We appreciate the help and caring we get from the high school under the guidance of Ms. Castellano.
We have a new volunteer, Nora, who drives a van and has offered to check the bins at Greenburgh Town Hall and Stop & Shop on a weekly basis, store the food in the back of her car and bring it to us on Wednesdays.  It’s wonderful having the bins in various places, but it’s necessary to check them periodically.  Tom has taken care of the bin at Irvington Library since the beginning (thank you, Tom), but the rest of the bins have been kind of hit or miss.  The other day I got an e-mail from Elizabeth Hobson at the Dobbs Ferry Library, saying she had to move the donated food out of the bin and into her office.  Benny ended up taking care of it.
By the way, anybody on this list who donates food, PLEASE check the expiration dates.  I can’t tell you how many cans of food we’ve had to throw away, after spending a long time going over every can, so that none of the food we offer has expired.  This is a rule of Feeding Westchester, and we’d be in trouble if they inspected and found expired food on our shelves.
On Tuesday we got our monthly share of produce from Feeding Westchester.  For the first time, three pantry clients helped to put it all away.  One client came to the pantry on the bus, even though he hadn’t ridden a bus for years, just so he could help with the food.  We’ll ask the clients for help again at some point.  It’s good for them to be involved in what we do to get the pantry ready for Wednesdays, and I think they like being involved.
A woman who lives in Dobbs Ferry and leads a yoga class in Manhattan asked her students to bring donations for the pantry.  This morning she brought both cash and food for us.  So, they’re learning about us in Manhattan!
I hope everybody is enjoying the holiday season.  It can be stressful sometimes.
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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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