March 19, 2020

Good evening, everybody – yesterday we served a record 59 families, including 108 adults, 82 children and 27 seniors, for a total of 217 people served.

          What a whirlwind it’s been since the Corona virus moved in.  We haven’t been sure how to manage the pantry or whether to open at all.  I was on a conference call with Feeding Westchester and it seems several pantries have closed up for the time being.  We were open but, for the first time ever, we gave out bags of food.  South Church is closed, so there was no possibility of having people congregate in the sanctuary to await their turn in the pantry.  Giving bags of food made it quicker for the clients to get their food and go, plus it was easier for the volunteers and clients to maintain distance from each other.
          Nevertheless, we did serve 59 different families.  We wore gloves and kept our distance and we urged the clients to maintain six feet of distance between themselves.  Some of the pantries on the conference call have been giving supermarket gift cards instead of food.  This would make it even faster for the clients to come and go, and would require fewer volunteers.
          On the other hand, if more people are unemployed, more people will need food.  We signed up several new families yesterday.  We’re still debating among ourselves how to handle the pantry-virus issue going forward.
          For now, I believe we’ll be giving out bags of food next Wednesday because we’re already scheduled to receive a big delivery of produce from Feeding Westchester the day before.  It’s not easy to change course so quickly.  After Wednesday, we’ll see what direction we take.
          In the meantime, Mayor Rosillo has been mentioning the pantry in his newsletter, and people have been amazingly kind.  They’ve donated food, bags, diapers – everything.  Today we received two gallon containers of oil from Maurice Giliberti of Sam’s Restaurant.  How generous is that!!
          And people have been visiting our website and making cash donations through PayPal.  If we start giving out gift cards we’ll need all that cash, so this is a huge thank-you to everyone who has donated or will donate to us at this time of need.
          I hope everybody stays safe and maintains social distance.  This is a very tough time emotionally for everybody.

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