It feels as if it’s nearly 90 degrees, if you consider the humidity, yet the number of people standing in line for food keeps growing this Wednesday morning. The line includes women and children, from newborns and shy toddlers to teens who help their mother carry the food to the car or to home. It’s crucial that pregnant women eat nutrient-dense foods, of course, and they too have stood in this line.
In fact, more women seek help from the pantry than men, and lately 80 percent of our clients are female.
That doesn’t surprise Irwin Garfinkel, co-director of the Center on Poverty & Social Policy at Columbia University. “Single mothers are more likely to be poor and economically insecure than the fathers of their children or married mothers and fathers,” he says.
Another reason, adds Garfinkel, is that among poor and economically insecure parents, mothers are more likely than fathers to seek help from the government and voluntary agencies and groups, including food pantries. Why? These women are less deterred than men by the shame that accompanies asking for help.
Welcome! Volunteers prepared these bags of fresh produce, the first stop for pantry clients.
We Need Your Help
For some, the pandemic may feel as if it’s over, or nearly over, with signs of life returning to normal, but our clients still struggle. This week we helped 130 families, or 469 people, and some weeks we provide food for as many as 160 families. The number of people who rely on food from our pantry isn’t dropping, yet donations are.
To help our neighbors get the food they need, consider donating money (use this link) or Stop & Shop gift cards.
We also welcome donations of unopened packaged food that hasn’t expired. You can leave it in the bin outside the church doors, and for bigger donations contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. The items we need most are canned protein—tuna, salmon, and chicken—crunchy peanut butter, soup, rice, both brown and white, and low-sugar cereals such as Cheerios, Honey Nut Cheerios, corn flakes, Special K, and oatmeal. We always need diapers for our youngest clients, especially size 5 and 6.
It Takes a Village
Our volunteer staff goes all in every Wednesday morning. But to help feed the hundreds who depend on the pantry each week, Girl Scouts, high school students, civic organizations, and members of churches and synagogues buy and collect food then haul it to the South Presbyterian Church where the pantry is housed. This week we thank The Scarsdale Woman’s Club for their generosity, once again.
If you’re thinking about organizing a food drive, keep in mind these tips:
• Shoot us an email. We’re at email@example.com. Tell us when your food drive is and we’ll post the info on our site and we’ll work out a day and time for your group to drop off the food at the pantry.
• Think healthy. We aim to offer our clients healthy foods and foods that they like. We appreciate donations of beans, canned or dried, canned protein like tuna, low-sugar cereal, peanut butter, jelly, rice (brown and white), pasta, spaghetti sauce, low-sodium soups, nuts, granola bars, and cooking oil.
• Note the no-nos. Please do not donate expired food, packaged food that’s been opened, food in glass containers, and home-baked items.
• Consider donating household staples. Toilet paper, paper towels, laundry detergent, and dish detergent are necessities, and your donation helps our clients stretch their food budget further.
Teens regularly volunteer at our pantry, adding energy and bringing their much-needed super powers, helping us to set up the pantry outdoors each week.
This week’s newsletter written by Kimberly Janeway, Pantry volunteer who lovingly writes WELCOME! in chalk on the sidewalk each week.