March 29, 2018

Good evening, everybody – yesterday in the morning we served a total of 26 families, including 52 adults, 32 kids and 13 seniors.  In the evening we served another 13 families, including 23 adults, 26 children and 1 senior.  That brings us to a total of 39 families with 75 adults, 58 children and 14 seniors.  Considering that we were closed for two of the four Wednesdays, we averaged 26 families a week for the month of March.

 

The children of the Church of St. Barnabas in Irvington worked long and hard, under the tutelage of Rachael and Barbara, to provide our clients’ children with beautifully-decorated Easter bags filled with toys and goodies.  Each bag had a drawing, saying and/or sticker on it.  The parents at the pantry were delighted to take them home to their children, and we have a few left over for next week.  Plus the congregation sent us a monetary donation for us to buy Easter gift cards for our clients.  The Church of St. Barnabas is a loving, caring organization, and we’re lucky to have them near us.
Then, when we walked into the kitchen at the pantry yesterday there were six bags of food collected and delivered by the Ardsley United Methodist Church.   The Ardsley United Methodist Church has taken care of us for a long time, and Ken Stahn delivers the food to us at least once a month.  Thanks, Ken, and thanks to everyone at AUMC who consistently brings food for us.
For some time Springhurst School has been sending us unopened food that is not taken by the students during lunch.  They used to have to throw it away, but now custodian Jose S. brings the food to us and puts it into the refrigerator every Tuesday and Friday.  We find lots of fruit, cheese sticks and yogurt in our refrigerator on Wednesday mornings.  Now the middle/high school has joined the program.  We should be finding a lot more lunchtime food in our refrigerator from now on.  The Dobbs Ferry schools have been working hard to find ways to avoid wasting food, and our pantry is one of the lucky recipients of that effort.
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March 21, 2018

Good afternoon, everybody – Today, for the third time this year, and the fourth time in the entire history of the pantry, we were closed due to another storm.  Surely, this is the last time, so that we can get back to regularly helping our hungry clients.

Last Saturday Ellen represented the pantry at an open house to discuss the upcoming CSA (community-supported agriculture).  This year the farm providing the fruit and vegetables every Sunday will be FABLE, located in Ossining.  The farmer will be donating a share to the pantry.  Thank you, FABLE.  Plus we’ll purchase another share, so that we can be sure to have plenty of fresh produce every Wednesday for our clients.  They’ve come to rely on fresh produce every week throughout the summer, and we’re glad to provide it to them, in addition to whatever canned fruits and vegetables they take from the shelves.  And thank you, Ellen, for telling everybody at the open house about the pantry.
Last Friday night Ellen, Andrew and I attended a soup cook-off at Springhurst School sponsored by the Springhurst PTSA.  The soups were provided by local restaurants in the Rivertowns, and you got to vote on your favorite.  The soups were so delicious that it wasn’t easy to pick just one, but the important thing is that it earned money for the PTSA for their valuable efforts all year.  And they encouraged whoever came to the cook-off to bring something for the pantry, so we ended up taking some canned and packaged foods away with us when we were finished.  Springhurst and all the Dobbs Ferry schools have been a consistent, reliable presence for us at the pantry for years.  Their support encourages us and keeps us going.
We got a surprise e-mail this morning from the Food Bank for Westchester, under whose umbrella we function, that they’ve changed their name to Feeding Westchester.  I don’t think much else will change except the name.  Anybody can visit their new website at www.feedingwestchester.org.
Next Wednesday I’m sure we’ll be open.  It’s Spring, after all.
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March 15, 2018

Good evening, everybody.  Since Benny and I weren’t at the pantry yesterday, here is Ellen’s e-mail, reporting what went on.  A special thanks to Carol Seischab for collecting the food donations from the bin at the Dobbs Ferry Library and bringing them to the pantry yesterday.  Carol talked to Elizabeth Hobson, the new director of the library, who seems interested in advocating for the pantry.  I’ll drop in to chat with her soon.

Ellen’s attempt at a chatty email:

Today Lyn, Andrew, Mary Anne, Tricia, Kevin, Tom and Ellen served 77 people across 22 families, with a welcome assist from Lyn’s visiting friend Ann and Mary Anne’s visiting twin Ruth. When we opened, our larders were chock-full after recent food drives and community donations, and we were able to supplement our shelf-stable items with frozen foods (meat, fish and blueberries), as well as fresh produce delivered this morning by Peapod. Since January we (that is, Molly and Benny) had been interviewing clients to reconfirm household composition, and today we started our efforts to provide more to larger families. We will implement this slowly, beginning just with pasta and beans as we work out the logistics of purchasing and storing the quantities required. As the clock struck noon, our pasta and black bean shelves were pretty bare – and wouldn’t you know, just then someone came from Woodlands Community Temple with… you guessed it, mostly pasta and beans!

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March 8, 2018

Good evening, everybody – Yesterday, for the second time this year, we closed the pantry due to stormy weather.  We worry about people slipping and falling while trying to carry home bags of food.  Will winter ever end??

 

Last Wednesday, after the pantry was finished, we took Lyn out to lunch to celebrate her birthday.  We volunteers need to party once in a while to celebrate all the work we do together!
Our subcommittee will be meeting this Friday in order to solidify our plans to begin to offer varied amounts of food, depending on the size of the families.  This is done in most of the other pantries in Westchester County.  We have some families with eight people in the family, and other families where there are only two or three.  And we have single people also.  It means spending extra funds in order to have food available to those larger families, but that is part of our mission, and we’re determined to do it.
I’ll be at the Food Bank for Westchester this coming Tuesday to meet the incoming Agency Relations Manager.  These events at the Food Bank are worthwhile because it gives us a chance to meet and mingle with people from the other food pantries in the country and learn how they’re doing things.  The people who run these pantries are a warm-hearted lot, and I’ve learned a lot by visiting them while they’re running their pantries.
I hope everybody on this list is okay despite the two storms we’ve gone through in Westchester County.  Many people have lost power, and some are staying with friends or at hotels.  Good luck to everybody, and let’s look forward to spring.  Clocks go forward this weekend!

 

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March 1, 2018

Good afternoon, everybody – yesterday morning we served a total of 36 families with 68 adults, 64 children and 10 seniors.  Then in the evening we served another 5 families with 14 adults and 11 children, for a total of 41 families with 81 adults, 75 children and 10 seniors.  We averaged 27 families a week in February.  We were closed due to bad weather on February 7.

Ellen received an e-mail from the Jacob Burns Film Center in Pleasantville, advising that there will be a showing of the documentary “Wasted”, followed by a panel discussion, on Thursday, March 8 at 7:30 p.m.  It’s $15 for nonmembers and $10 for members.  It’s about the way food is wasted and ways to put a stop to that.  It sounds like something everybody on this list is concerned about.  I’m attaching the notice in case people want to attend.
We heard from Roots & Wings that there will be a CSA again this summer on Sunday mornings in the parking lot of South Church.  This year it’s from a farm in Ossining.   There will be a CSA open house where you can learn more about the CSA on Saturday, March 17 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. at the Farm Room of the Days of Wonder daycare center at South Church.  Registration ends on May 1.  You can find more information by visiting www.RivertownsCommunityGardens.com.
The youth group at Dobbs Ferry Lutheran Church sold bowls of chili on Super Bowl Sunday and they used the money to buy food, diapers and baby wipes for the pantry.  Heidi Van Osdol, together with Sue Fernandez, whose sons are members of the group, organized this activity with the help of Heidi’s husband, who is an expert chili-maker.  Heidi dropped off much of the food a couple of weeks ago, and last night, when we were open for the evening pantry, she and her son dropped off even more food, diapers and wipes.  And not only did the church send us a check, but Heidi handed us another check last night.  People complain that young people aren’t interested in church activities, but that’s not true of DFLC.  Thanks so much to the children and their parents, as well as the staff at the church.  And congratulations on your new pastor, Rev. Marie Meeks!
There is one kind woman in Greenburgh who sends the pantry diapers and baby wipes every month or so.  This month we received diapers in sizes ranging from 1 to 6, together with baby wipes for all.  This kind of regular, consistent help encourages us volunteers and makes it possible for our clients to care for their babies the way they want to.  Thanks to the many people who make it possible for us to help our clients.
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February 21, 2018

Good afternoon, everyone – Today we served a total of 18 families, including 20 adults, 20 children and 5 seniors.

Our beloved Barbara Mahoney has told us that the children of the Church of St. Barnabas in Irvington wants to provide us with decorated bags with goodies for Easter like they did last year.  We lined the bags up on the steps leading to the altar last year, and the mothers could take one bag for each of their children.  It made the Wednesday before Easter a very happy event.  Plus we’ll be giving out gift cards for the holidays as well.
Today we were visited again by Giuliana Urrelo from the Westchester Hispanic Coalition.  She always brings important information about the services they offer (help with domestic violence, sexual abuse, housing, employment), and all of their services are free!  She’s helped our clients in the past, and she vows to keep coming every month or so to meet new clients and offer whatever information or advice people need.
Brooklyn Market at Rivertowns Square is open!  And since Rivertowns Square is in Dobbs Ferry, I’m hoping we’ll be able to do food drives there in addition to Stop & Shop, and I’m planning to ask them if we can put a permanent bin there with a sign for people to buy food for the pantry and leave it in the bin.  I’ve looked at Stop & Shop, but it seems crowded.  There’s a bin at Foodtown in Hastings for the Hastings Food Pantry, which gave me the idea.
We’re going to be streamlining our client registration system onto a laptop instead of manually signing the clients in every week.  Just about every other pantry in Westchester County does it this way, and the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry is coming on board.  We have a small committee of volunteers (my husband included) who have gone to meetings at the Food Bank for guidance on how best to do this, and it will be a big help to us when we submit our statistics to the Food Bank every month.

 

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February 15, 2018

Good evening, everybody – Yesterday we served a total of 21 families, including 37 adults, 31 children and 6 seniors.

This past Monday was the memorial service at Sacred Heart Church in Dobbs Ferry for Meg Lauer.  I missed the service, but Lyn and I got to the reception afterwards and it was packed with people who wanted to share their memories of Meg.  We got to meet her husband and two daughters.  The Lauers had been gone from Dobbs Ferry for several years, but Meg somehow managed to stay in touch with everybody, so having a memorial service in Dobbs Ferry was an opportunity for everybody to get together again to talk about the Lauers’ life here.  And the pantry has received many donations, from PayPal and by check, from people who wanted to honor the organizations she supported.
By the way, if anybody on this list wants to send us a check (which would be much appreciated), make sure you make the check out to South Presbyterian Church, and put “pantry” in the memo line.
This past Friday a group of us pantry volunteers got together at Lyn’s house for a potluck where we went over the USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) manual.  Everybody who buys food from the Food Bank has to be familiar with this manual, which talks mostly about discrimination and how to report a complaint about our pantry to the USDA.  I can’t imagine it happening, but we’re all trained in how not to discriminate.  The only concern we came up with was what to do if someone comes to the pantry who speaks a language we don’t understand.  We still won’t discriminate.  We’ll try as hard as we can to help them and give them some food.
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February 7, 2018

Good afternoon, everyone – This morning, for only the second time since the pantry’s inception, we decided not to open the pantry.  We were worried that someone would slip and fall.

This past Saturday was a banner day for the food pantry.  The Dobbs Ferry High School football team did a food drive for us at Stop & Shop.  They’ve done this for us before, and it’s always a huge success.  It happened again this time.  The boys made several big deliveries of food to the church as the day wore on, and our volunteer Tom also brought tons of food in his car.  It’s all sitting upstairs in the office we use for storage, and we’ll start giving the food out next Wednesday.  Nobody can resist the charm of those boys.  Mothers Anilla Cherian and Patty Straub were there the whole day with the boys and came with them to deliver the food to the church.  Thanks so much to the entire team, and everybody who helped Anilla and Patty make this into such a success!
This Friday we volunteers will be gathering to go over the USDA Manual, which must be read by all volunteers who come into contact with our clients.  It talks mostly about the importance of not discriminating.  I’ve added language to our brochure and our website reflecting just that.  We would never discriminate against anybody, whether we’ve read the manual or not, but if we want to stay in the good graces of the Food Bank for Westchester, we’ll make sure we’ve all gone over it.
We’ve received many donations in memory of our beloved Meg Lauer.  There will be a funeral service for her here in Dobbs Ferry as well.  Anybody who wants to go can check her Caringbridge page for the details.  We volunteers from the Food Pantry will definitely attend.
Stay warm and cozy, everybody.  April, come she will.
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Dobbs Ferry High School football team ready for a food drive at Stop & Shop February 3 from 9:30 to 1:30! Thanks guys!

2-4-18 dfhs team food drive

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February 1, 2018

Good afternoon, everybody – yesterday in the morning we served a total of 26 families, including 39 adults, 35 children and 10 seniors.  Then in the evening we served another 16 families with 26 adults, 20 children and 2 more seniors.  This makes a total of 42 families yesterday, with 65 adults, 55 children and 12 seniors.  We averaged 27 families a week during the month of January.

This past Sunday I attended services at Dobbs Ferry Lutheran Church and met their new pastor, Rev. Marie Meeks.  We at the pantry are happy that DFLC has a pastor of its own now, and she’s a very caring person.  This coming Sunday the youth group will be having a Super Bowl Sunday event after church in which, among other things, they’ll be selling homemade chili.  The proceeds will be used to buy products for the pantry – how loving is that??  Thanks so much, DFLC.  We always rely on you.
We’ve been back in touch with Felipe Henao at Mercy College about getting together to discuss their plan to establish a food pantry at Mercy.  Lyn and I will be happy to help in any way we can, and we’ll be enhancing our relationship with Mercy.  We’ll help them and they’ll help us.  I’m sure there are many hungry students at Mercy, struggling to pay for their education.
Hopefully everybody on this list will save their grocery shopping for Stop & Shop in Dobbs Ferry this coming Saturday between 9:30 and 1:30.  That’s when the Dobbs Ferry High School football team will be doing a food drive for us.  They’ve done several for us in the last couple of years and they’re a huge success.  Who can resist the charm of those boys??  Come one, come all!

I’m sorry to end on this very sad note, but Dobbs Ferry has lost a wonderful friend in Meg Lauer.  She died last week, surrounded by loved ones.  She was a tremendous supporter of the food pantry, even after she moved away.  And before she died she asked that donations be made to the food pantry in her memory.  We’ve already started receiving contributions in her name.  Our deepest condolences go out to her husband, daughters, and all her friends who are grieving right now.
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