January 2023

Providing necessities for those in need is what a food pantry is organized to do. One hopes for the day when we could go out of business, that no one needs what we offer. That’s not likely to happen, yet sometimes we wonder just how real is the difference we make, or if we make any difference at all.

Then something happens to snap the doubtful among us out of it: Recently a client, Andy, told us that he is leaving the area and moving to be with his son. Before Andy left, he gave Vera Halpenny, co-director of the pantry, a painting that he did—a tranquil forest and mountain landscape that we’ll hang at the pantry—along with this note, which we are posting with his permission:

“I want to thank you and all the volunteers at the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry. Words cannot adequately express the gratitude I feel and the positive and enduring impact each one of you have made on me and my family.  And that’s saying a lot coming from a poet. In the past 5 years you have helped me through a difficult time in my life. You were a constant in a time of what seemed like almost constant change and challenge. Every Wednesday you were there with ready smiles and loving hearts that sustained me as much as the food the Food Pantry provided.  God bless each and every one of you. I will miss you all, but I will always carry your kindness in my heart.

It Takes a Village

Alexandra Kulpa, at left, of the Alcott School in Dobbs Ferry, drops off donations. The Hands-In Club of Dobbs Ferry High School made 100 bags of cleaning products for our clients and donated personal hygiene items.

Pantry volunteer Donna Assumma welcomes Tom Minozzi and Abby Connett of the Rivertowns Rotary Club. The group donated boxes of grapefruit and oranges, providing our clients with fresh produce on a winter’s day.

The Peluso quartet, at left. Michelle Peluso, her husband Marc Fader, and their children donated many toiletries to the pantry on its 2022 finale and greeted clients, offering them necessities that make a world of difference to our neighbors. Shown here are Auden Fader, Marc Fader, Cole Fader, and Michelle. Winter clothing was in demand in December. Michelle Peluso, Marc Fader, and pantry staffer Bijal Das gathered winter wear for our clients, with the folks at Yarn Barn Buddies of Westchester—two buddies are shown at right—donating beautiful handmade hats and scarves.

Many thanks to Shannon Corbett’s son Charlie and his best friend Joseph. They held a joint birthday party and asked guests to bring something for the pantry in lieu of birthday presents. The pair then dropped their collection at the pantry’s donation box. Charlie and Joseph, you’re terrific and our clients appreciated your donation. Magic happens when children are taught to share. Same for adults.

The Backshop Battalion

Our clients and those who donate money and food know the names and faces of the volunteers whose pictures appear regularly in this monthly newsletter.  But there are volunteers who work just as hard behind the scenes. Here are some of the volunteers who order, receive, pack, sort, and deliver food and household/personal products for our clients:

Robin Larkins, Suzy “The Marshal” Barnett, “Super Sharon” Bilman, Ed Griggs, Patricia Reilly, Devin Barbera, Susan Ginsberg, Mary Ann Pizzorusso, Hazel Blanton, Betsy Kase, Jerry Quinlan, Les Radoman, Kim Parvin, Devina Foley, Mary Toomey, Daniel Strauss, Laura O’Leary, Jean Hamerman, Ilse Harris, Laura O’Halloran, and Leela Phillips.

Finally, a big shout-out to South Presbyterian Church, and all of you who donated your time, food, and dollars, enabling us to support our neighbors in need in 2022 and years past.

Okay, it’s 2023. Now back to work.

Duke Coffey, a longtime pantry volunteer who does it all, wrote this month’s newsletter.

P.S. Please join us in supporting South Church, which supports and houses the food pantry.

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