March 12, 2020

Good afternoon, everybody – yesterday, despite the pandemic, we served 43 families, including 80 adults, 62 children and 22 seniors, for a total of 163 people served.

          At the start of the pantry every week our clients gather in the church sanctuary and choose numbers to see who goes first, second, etc.  This week we encouraged them to sit farther apart from each other, don’t hug or kiss, wash their hands and resist touching their faces.  By and large our clients cooperated, but we’re still debating how to run the pantry during the course of this virus.  Feeding Westchester suggests that we give food out in bags, the old-fashioned way, which would avoid having people hang out in the sanctuary.  This coming Wednesday, I think what we’ll do is again encourage people to sit apart from each other, but we’ll discuss with them what they would like to have in the bags.  Then we’ll go from there.  We have no idea where we’ll get our hands on a huge number of paper bags.  Each person would probably take home two or three bags.
          A woman by the name of Alisa Fasman called me today from the  Dobbs Ferry Village Administration to discuss how the pantry could help if many people are quarantined.  This envisions our serving many more people, if only for a few weeks, and actually delivering the food to the people.  I’m sure  people who can afford it would order food through PeaPod or Fresh Direct, but if people can’t afford that it may fall to us to deliver food from the pantry. It’s a fluid situation and may not even come to pass, but we pantry volunteers will do our best to help in any way we can.  I’m sure under those circumstances many more people in the Village would be ready to help out also.
          The pantry also serves Ardsley, Irvington and Greenburgh as well.  The particular concern for the pantry is if schools must close for an extended period of time.  This would deprive the children who qualify for a free or reduced-fee lunch of a nourishing meal.   I’ve been talking to Robin Larkins of Spring Community Partners about what to do if the Dobbs Ferry schools close.  Once again, we’re not sure how we’d handle it, but it seems clear that if any of these schools must close, we would find ourselves serving families who have never come to the pantry before, as well as our own established clients.  We’ll figure it out, and we’ll count on the support from the people on this list, who always come through in a time of need.


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