November 27, 2020

Good afternoon, everybody – This past Wednesday, which was the day before Thanksgiving, we served a record-breaking 157 families, including 319 adults, 206 children and 62 seniors, for a total of 587 people served.  The evening pantry accounted for 19 of those families.  For comparison, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving last year we served 47 families.  Look how we’ve grown!  Also, we never used to make deliveries.  This week it was 34, more than ever before.
The days leading up to Wednesday were intense, to say the least.  We don’t have storage space for turkeys, but the previous week we gave whole chickens to all the clients.  We also wanted to give a pie to every client, the way we did last year.  Last year we volunteers contributed the pies.  This year, with so many more clients, it was much more complicated.  Volunteer Gretchen Skaggs headed up the campaign to ask for a donation of pies from the community, and people came from everywhere!  My block of Ogden Place rounded up 33 pies just among the neighbors.  We ended up with enough pies to send every client home with two pies instead of one.  Thanks so much to Gretchen for organizing this exhausting feat.
Speaking of exhausting feats, ALL the volunteers, both from SPRING Community Partners and from the pantry, bent over backwards to pull together this pre-Thanksgiving pantry.  The day before the pantry, volunteers including Duke Coffey, Co-Director Vera Halpenny, Robin Larkins, Roma Halatyn and Suzanna Halatyn, were at South Church throughout the entire day, from early morning until the evening.  I wasn’t there, so there may have been more volunteers whose names I’ve missed.  And, as drained as they were, they all showed up the next day to work at the Pantry.  This pantry has attracted a mighty group of people who are just selfless in their willingness to do everything that has to be done to achieve a successful pantry every week.  I’m in awe of all of them!
And beyond the pantry volunteers, the organizations, clubs and groups who all reached out to us to see how they could help!  Here are some names that come to my mind:  Woodlands Community Temple; Irvington Scout Troop 55; Scarsdale Women’s Club; Temple Beth Shalom; The Village of Ardsley (organized by Rajvi Patel and Callie Patras with the help of Mayor nancy Kaboolian); Ardsley United Methodist; Doin’ Good in the Hood (thanks to Erica Rashad); Dobbs Ferry for Social Justice (Marissa O’Hare and Kevin Messam); Hudco (Christy Knell); the South Presbyterian Church Faith and Justice Learning Lab (Marie-Louise Miller); Hudson Social (our second successful restaurant fundraiser); Michelle Adams and On The Line (the restaurants provided Thanksgiving side dishes for all the clients); and I’ve missed some.  And this list leaves out all the individuals who showed up, unbidden, with cash, checks, gift cards, pies and food.  And diapers and baby wipes. One woman donated three cases of feminine products.  The Steinbergs from Ardsley brought eggs, as they have done for years.  And so many more!
Edgemont now has a new Rotary Club.  One of their first projects was to help us at the pantry get ready for Thanksgiving.  And help us they did.  We asked them to help us provide fresh produce for all the clients.  They traveled to Hunts Point Market in the Bronx and several other places, and brought back a truckload of all kinds of fruits and vegetables.  We were bowled over.  And pies too!  Then, the next day, Rotary members Yasmin Pacia, Atul Saxema, Sanjay Arya and other members arrived to help serve the clients.  Edgemont is lucky to have a new Rotary Club with such determined and hard-working people.  A virtual hug to them all.
I have a feeling 2021 will be a much better year.  Look how it’s starting out:  On Saturday, January 16 from 8:00 p.m. until 9:30, Mark Morganelli’s Jazz Forum will be hosting an All-Star Benefit Concert for the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry.  Look at this line-up:  David Janeway, piano; Ralph Lalama, tenor saxophone;  Mark Morganelli, trumpet; John Pattituci, bass; Gary Smulyan, baritone saxophone; Ron Vincent, drums, and Nicole Pasternak, vocals.  All the musicians will donate their performances!  Tickets will cost $20, and throughout the concert the www.dobbsferrypantry.org pantry link will appear so that people can donate to the pantry.  Watch for the advertisements on social media and elsewhere and purchase your tickets.  What a great way to spend a cold winter evening!!
One last comment – now that we’ve started doing deliveries we’ve discovered four of the most awesome volunteers who are willing to drive hither, thither and yon to make sure people get their food.  Their names are Anthony Corradina, Kevin Messam, Nora Gibbons and Suzy Powers.  On Wednesdays they take off with their cars (truck in Nora’s case) packed to the gills with boxes and bags (and pies).  Not to mention Robin Larkins herself, who spends most of Wednesday mornings organizing these deliveries.  She’s even made labels with the clients’ names and addresses.  Is it just me, or is this a stupendous show of love for the community?  We should make a documentary about the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry!
Now to gear up for the December holidays! 

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