April 22, 2021

Good afternoon, everybody – yesterday we served 131 families, including 221 adults, 139 children and 36 seniors.  A total of 483 people were served yesterday, and our delivery mavens made 47 deliveries to Dobbs Ferry, Ardsley, Irvington and Greenburgh.  Four new families (that’s right, four) applied yesterday.

Next Wednesday, both morning and evening, will be my last time at the pantry.  I’ll always be there in the background, making phone calls, sending texts, etc., and my husband Benny will be signing people in every week, so I won’t be totally detached, but co-directors Vera Halpenny and Gretchen Skaggs are poised to take the reigns, and the pantry will be in excellent hands.  And an extra shout-out to SPRING Community Partners Executive Director Robin Larkins for being a constant force of energy at the pantry since its beginning.

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Monique McCoy, Agency Relations Director of Feeding Westchester, has been having a biweekly virtual meeting of food pantries where we learn what’s going on at Feeding Westchester and also touch base with each other.  It’s kind of a support group as pantries grapple with the changes we’ve gone through this past year.  Today both Gretchen and I attended, and she’ll be representing the pantry at the meeting from now on.  It’s a great way to find out how other pantries are handling problems which we’ve faced ourselves now that we’ve grown so much bigger.

When the pandemic started we were still operating out of South Church’s Fellowship Hall.  As we added more and more clients, even though the clients and tables were outside, there was more and more noise in Fellowship Hall, which made it hard for the children in the nursery school underneath to concentrate.  We then moved our operations into the Sanctuary, and I’ve posted pictures on the website of how our operations filled up the space.  Now that there’s a plan to actually schedule religious services in the Sanctuary, we’re moving back to Fellowship Hall, but most of our packing activity will take place in the evening, when the nursery school has finished for the day. It’s a huge operation, and my hat is off (and my heart goes out) to the team of volunteers, headed by Duke Coffey, who will undertake this transfer.  Our new co-directors have their work cut out for them.

A thank-you is in order to the Sharing Shelf (www.sharingshelf.org), located in Port Chester, for providing holiday outfits and other clothing to the children of our clients.  One of our clients posted a picture on Facebook of her daughter, proudly posing in her Easter finery.  The Sharing Shelf operates throughout Westchester, and searches for ways to help people in need, particularly with clothing but also diapers and hygiene supplies.  They are a hard-working organization, and we at the pantry are lucky to be helped by them.

And a thank-you in advance to Ardsley United Methodist Church, 525 Ashford Avenue in Ardsley, for organizing a food drive for us this coming Saturday, April 24 from 11:00 to 1:00 at the church.  Pick up something extra for the pantry (especially canned diced tomatoes, pasta sauce in plastic jars or cans, tuna, hearty soups – or size 6 diapers and baby wipes), and drop it off at the church and Ken Stahn will deliver it to us next Monday.  A virtual hug to everyone at AUMC for being by our side throughout this pandemic, and for years before!

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