Good afternoon, everybody – the pantry served fewer people this week than last week! Maybe we’ve plateaued! We were expecting more people because the schools are no longer giving free breakfasts and lunches, but it didn’t happen. Let’s see how the next couple of weeks roll out. This week the volunteers served 124 families (last week 130), including 253 adults, 165 children and 35 seniors. A total of 453 people were served on Wednesday (last week 479). We’re determined to continue to be open every week and to continue giving gift cards every week as long as we can.
As an extra safety precaution we’ll be taking the temperatures of the volunteers every Wednesday, and also on Mondays while they’re waiting for deliveries from Feeding Westchester. This is part of the New York State NY Forward Safety Plan, which South Church has asked us to fill out and maintain. If someone ever has a temperature of over 100.4 they have to go home and be tested. We’ve been very lucky all this time, but we’re always prepared. Both the volunteers and the clients wear masks (and we keep extra masks to give anyone who doesn’t have one), and the volunteers wear gloves. While the pantry is in operation the registration tables are sanitized regularly, and before the pantry is closed the volunteers thoroughly clean and disinfect every surface. They leave the church absolutely clean. It’s a lot of work, but the work has paid off.
Speaking of masks, the office of Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins has made free masks available to businesses and nonprofit organizations. We ordered a big supply so that we’ll always have plenty of masks available for clients and volunteers.
Another innovation is the introduction of two registration tables instead of one. This has speeded up the process and the clients don’t have to wait as long to be served. The pantry is now starting at 9:30 instead of 10:00, specifically for seniors who can’t stand in a long line.
We’re having a lot of discussions, both among ourselves and with church staff, about how to continue once the weather grows cold. In the past the clients gathered in the sanctuary to await their turn, but we believe we’ll never go back to serving only 35-40 families a week. We can’t pack a lot of people into the sanctuary and maintain social distancing. It’s an ongoing conundrum, and we’ll keep you posted.
A special shout-out to two families who have been especially nurturing towards the pantry – the Baron family and the McKellar family. These two families have taken very good care of us, and it seems that both families have cared for Dobbs Ferry in so many different ways. Thanks to both families, and we’re lucky you live in Dobbs Ferry.