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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May 10, 2017

Good afternoon, everybody – today we served a total of 30 families, including 57 adults, 39 children and 6 seniors.
Due to a scheduling confusion, the Cassatt String Quartet was scheduled to rehearse for Sunday’s concert this morning while the pantry was going on in the sanctuary.  Our pantry clients got to listen in on a world-class quartet practice what they will be playing on Sunday.  What a treat – for us volunteers as well as the clients!  The clients were urged to keep their voices down so the musicians could concentrate, and they cooperated beautifully, including a mother with a tiny baby.
In case you’re interested, the concert will take place this coming Sunday (Mothers’ Day), May 14, at 3:00 at South Church.  It’s a fundraiser for the Midnight Run.  The entry fee is $20, and $10 for seniors and students.
Speaking of mothers with tiny babies, our beloved Barbara M. and her entire family agreed among themselves to donate a huge supply of diapers and wipes to our clients, as well as lotion for the mothers, in honor of Mothers’ Day.  We have several new mothers, and two more who are about to give birth, so the clients were very appreciative of this gesture.  Extreme gratitude to Barbara, her mother, her sister, her son and her brother and sister-in-law.
This Saturday, May 13, is the day when people are supposed to leave shelf-stable food by their mailboxes for their mail carriers to pick up.  For the last two years the Dobbs Ferry Post Office has had a huge amount of food in the back room of the Post Office, all donated by caring Dobbs Ferry residents.  Two years ago we ended up with half of it and half of it went to the St. Joseph’s pantry in Yonkers, which is supported by Sacred Heart Church here in Dobbs Ferry.  Last year Sacred Heart told us they didn’t need any of the food at the time, and we ended up with all of it.  Tom. W. picked everything up, loaded it into the back of his car and brought it to South Church.  Tom W. is amazing, as I’ve said before. I’m going to drop by the Post Office tomorrow or Friday just to confirm that they’ll have the food in the back room again.  Then I’ll call the people at Sacred Heart to see if they’ll be taking half of it this year.  If anybody on this list contributes to the food collected by the mail carriers, a million thanks to you, and be assured that the food will go to feed hungry people, starting right away.  It’s great that the Post Office, together with its union, does this every year.
We submitted our grant request for the Food Bank for Westchester.  They’ll let us know over the summer how much they’ll be giving us.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed because, in spite of gifts from food drives and organizations, we still need to go out and purchase foods that we run out of on a constant basis, so a sizable grant from the Food Bank would be a huge help.
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May 5, 2017

Troop 1694 from Dobbs Ferry Middle School, in front of many boxes of Girl Scout cookies (including gluten-free Toffee-tastic) being donated to the pantry.  Everybody loves Girl Scout cookies!  Thanks so much to the girls, their parents and troop leaders Tess McDade and Michelle Wurf.

girlscout050517

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May 3, 2017

I hit “send” a little too quickly before I was able to add that, on top of everything else, the Dobbs Ferry Senior Center gave us a donation not only of an entire bin full of food but also a container of backpacks. Abby Connett, the Director, wasn’t sure who donated those backpacks to the Center, but by the end of this morning’s pantry there was only one left.  At the pantry we’re mostly all about food, but we also offer clothing occasionally and, today, backpacks!  Abby always has the food pantry in mind, and she encourages people to bring shelf-stable food with them when they come for lunch and activities at the Center.
By the way, if any senior citizens read this and are interested in learning more about what goes on at the Dobbs Ferry Senior Center, give them a call at 914-693-7792.  This coming week, May 8 to 12, is Senior Week, when all the meals and activities are free, and it’s a chance to really get to know what goes on.  My husband and I are members, and it’s a nice bunch of people to get to know.  You can also give me a call at 914-522-1154 and I’ll fill you in on everything that happens at the Senior Center.
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May 3, 2017

Good afternoon, everybody – today we served a total of 23 families, including 39 adults, 25 children and 6 seniors.
This week we received a check from the Church of St. Barnabas in Irvington in response to our application for a grant from them.  St. Barnabas is one of the most generous churches we have worked with, and they gave us the amount we requested.  Since we pay no rent or utilities at South Church, the money will all go for food to feed the hungry people in the Rivertowns and Greenburgh.  Grants like we have received from St. Barnabas in Irvington are what keeps us going from year to year.  The grant they gave us is from proceeds from their annual clothing sale in November, so let’s all plan on shopping for clothes at St. Barnabas next November.
We’re also working on an application for a grant from the Food Bank itself.  Instead of sending a check, they’ll give a credit to food pantries and soup kitchens which can be used to purchase food.  They’ve given us grants in the past (and last year they gave us a hand truck that we requested), so let’s hope they help us again this year.
Then, in the fall, we’ll have a restaurant fundraiser like we’ve done in the past at Sam’s Restaurant in Dobbs Ferry.  We may even include another restaurant or two while we’re at it.  This has been a fun and delicious way of raising money so that we can keep buying the food we need for the pantry.
Remember the Share Your Wish organization?  I shared a booth with them last summer at the Irvington Farmers’ market.  It’s run by the Schleifer family in Irvington, and their goal is to teach children that giving is as good as receiving.  They encourage children to request that guests at their birthday parties donate money to a charity instead of buying them a gift.  Today we received a check from the organization in the name of a little boy who chose our pantry for his guests to donate to for his fifth birthday.  Pretty grown-up for a little five-year-old, isn’t it?  We’ll send him a thank-you and also let Share Your Wish know that we appreciate their concept.
We’ve gotten Girl Scout cookies from another Dobbs Ferry girl scout troop, and yet another group is bringing cookies by this coming Friday.  No matter how many cookies we receive, they fly off the shelves like hotcakes.  We routinely offer nutritious foods like brown rice, whole-wheat pasta and fresh produce, but people like a cookie once in a while also.
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April 27, 2017

Good afternoon, everybody – Yesterday in the morning we served a total of 17 families, including 26 adults, 23 children and 5 seniors.  Then in the evening we served another 17 families with 29 adults, 19 children and 3 seniors.  So, the total was 34 families with 55 adults, 42 children and 8 seniors.  We averaged 31 families a week in April.
Last Sunday Mercy College’s Exercise Science Club had an event in which they ran along the Aqueduct.  Afterwards they offered apples and bananas as refreshment.  That afternoon they called me to say they had some apples and bananas left over and wanted to drop them off.  I was delighted, of course.  When I came to church on Monday for a yoga class there were HUGE cases of apples and bananas.  And then Ellen and Eileen picked up our monthly allotment of fruits (bananas) and vegetables from the Food Bank’s Green Thumb program. Boy, did we have fresh produce to offer our clients.  There was plenty waiting for our evening clients as well.  They could take all they wanted, and then we were still left with apples and bananas.  But, nothing ever goes to waste.  This morning I called the Irvington Senior Center and they were happy to accept all the apples and bananas (50 or so) we had.  So, our beloved Tom W. came to church, gathered up the fruit, and drove it over to the Seniors so that they could eat the fruit with their lunch.
We were also contacted last week by Rosemarie Gatzek, Director of the Irvington Public Library, letting us know that her office was full of shelf-stable food donations again.  The Irvington Library patrons are an amazing bunch, and we don’t even know who they are.  And guess who drove over there, picked up the food and brought it to South Church – Tom.  Tom, Ellen and Eileen are three people who go and get food for the pantry, wherever it is, and bring it to be given out to our clients.  A virtual hug to all three of you.  And a separate hug to Carol, who brings food to us just about every week from TWO churches – Dobbs Ferry Lutheran and Zion Episcopal.
The Wednesday before Easter we gave out gift cards to the clients, purchased by the parishioners at the Church of St. Barnabas in Irvington.  The people in that church, including our own Barbara M., are among our most loyal supporters.  We gave them all out that day.  Then I went out and bought a few more because we have a number of clients who come only on the last Wednesday of the month in the evening.  We’ve got a group of regulars who come every month, and I wanted to be sure that they also receive what we give out during the day.  So those clients last night went home with lots of produce plus a Stop & Shop gift card.
If anybody is interested in attic sales, St. Barnabas Church in Ardsley is having an attic sale tomorrow and Saturday from 10:00 to 4:00.  If you can’t make that one, there’s an attic sale at Ardsley United Methodist May 5 and 6 from 10:00 to 2:00.  And Ardsley Methodist is having a pasta night and May 12, for which you have to RSVP.  So, there’s lots to do in the Rivertowns.
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April 20, 2017

Good afternoon, everybody – yesterday we served a total of 35 families, including 63 adults, 44 children and 8 seniors.
The Director of the Irvington Library, Rosemarie Gatzek, has contacted me to tell me that her office is full of donated shelf-stable food again.  It’s amazing how generous the patrons of that library are.  We’ll be arranging to go and pick up that food and add it into the food from the Stop & Shop food drive very soon.  Thank you, Rosemarie, for establishing this connection.
We’ve just received notice that it’s time to apply to the Food Bank for their annual grant.  We need the money, so let’s keep our fingers crossed.  We need the money because, despite food donations and food drives, there are always items that weren’t included in the donated food.  At this point we’re out of shelf-stable milk, for example, so we’ll either order it from the Food Bank, if they have it, or from Pea Pod at Stop & Shop.  Whenever you feel like donating money instead of food, go right to our website, www.dobbsferrypantry.org, and click on the Pay Pal button.  Or send a check made out to South Presbyterian Church with “pantry” in the memo line to us at 343 Broadway, Dobbs Ferry.  All donations, whether large or small, will be gratefully put to use.
Yesterday my mail carrier handed me a Valpak envelope with the notification that the U.S. Post Office, together with the postal workers’ union, will be doing their annual food drive on Saturday, May 13.  That’s the day when you’re encouraged to leave nonperishable food items by your mail box for your carrier to pick up.  I’m not sure whether every village does this, but Dobbs Ferry does it every year, and for the last couple of years, they’ve allowed us to take what they collect.  Last year we shared the food with Sacred Heart Church in Dobbs Ferry, which provides food for a food pantry in Yonkers.  The carriers end up collecting so much food that there’s enough to stock two pantries.  So, mark your calendar for May 13 and remember to put some food out for your carrier to take – especially shelf-stable milk.
Forsythia is in bloom and daffodils are everywhere!
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April 12, 2017

Easter bags brought by the children of the Church of St. Barnabas for the children of the pantry clients.  Thanks kids!

easter bags

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April 12, 2017

Good afternoon, everybody – This morning we served a total of 35 families, including 59 adults, 52 children and 10 seniors.  We had three more hams to give out from the Dobbs Ferry Woman’s Club, so those clients went home happy.
Plus everyone got a gift card, due to the generosity of the parishioners of The Church of St. Barnabas in Irvington.  We even have some left over for the people who come next week.
And, as if that wasn’t enough, we had over 100 Easter bags displayed in the church sanctuary, where the clients gather, so that the clients’ children could chose a bag to take home and enjoy the candies and goodies inside.  These bags also came from The Church of St. Barnabas, put together by the children of the Sunday school.  And we’ll have more of those to give out next week also.  A virtual hug goes to everyone at St. Barnabas who cared enough to donate to the organizers of this project. ❤❤
This was an intense weekend for the pantry.  The Food Bank for Westchester, together with NBC Channel 4 and Telemundo Channel 47, did a food drive at every Stop & Shop in Westchester County.  If a pantry could provide volunteers to help the Food Bank staff at the food drive, the pantry got to keep all the food.  Our pantry provided enough volunteers that my husband, Benny, was free to help the Food Bank staff at the Stop & Shop in North White Plains.  This means we got to keep all the food collected from TWO stores.  From our local store alone we ended up with 2,150 pounds of food.  Then Monday the Food Bank volunteers from North White Plains came with another carload of food from that store.  The shoppers at Stop & Shop are an amazingly generous and concerned bunch.  The food is stored all over South Church.  It looks like a lot, but even that food will disappear fast.  Thanks to all our volunteers who worked hard, representing the pantry all day long, and a special shout-out to Benny for traveling to North White Plains.💋
Spring Community Partners, the group that started the food pantry, is again looking for donations to the Dobbs Ferry Village Summer Camp scholarship fund.   There are a number of families whose children need to go to the summer camp but who can’t afford the fee.  Last year, several kind people from this list made donations to that fund.  This year Spring needs 10 donations of $160 each to cover the costs of Senior Camp (grades 1-6) and 6 donations of $200 each to cover the costs of Teen Camp (grades 6-9).  If anybody on this list is able to help, please contact Robin Larkins of Spring Community Partners at rlarkins63@aol.com.  Or just reply to this e-mail and I’ll put you in touch with the right people.
Lyn and I were interviewed this past Monday at Greenburgh Town Hall by intern Noor Brewster on the Greenburgh Public Access television station.  The show will be broadcast some time in May on Channel 75 for Cablevision and Channel 34 for FIOS.  The schedule of programs can be found on Greenburgh’s website at www.greenburghpublicaccess.com.  We’re grateful to Town Supervisor Paul Feiner for setting this up and being so supportive of the pantry.
We were visited today by Susie Zachman of Better Beginnings, a nonprofit organization she’s starting to help parents of young children encourage their children to eat in a healthy way.  Two mothers – one who’s about to give birth and one who just gave birth – expressed interest in participating in her program.  Susie told us she’s also available to visit from time to time with samples of recipes using ingredients that are available at the pantry but are unfamiliar to our clients.  The clients can taste the food and learn how to cook it.
We were also visited by a representative of the Giving Circle of Lower Westchester to see how the pantry runs.  We just applied to them for a grant, so hopefully the representative liked what she saw.  They may come again on April 26 when more representatives can come.  Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we qualify for this grant.
Hope everybody’s enjoying the holidays and the warm weather.
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