January 8, 2020

Good evening, everybody – this morning we opened the pantry after being closed since December 23 because Christmas and New Years were both on Wednesdays.  It was a good rest for us volunteers, but we missed each other and were glad to see each other after this break.  We served a total of 39 families this morning, including 77 adults, 46 children and 18 seniors, for a total of 141 people served.

          This past Sunday three of us volunteers had a great time with a troop of Cub Scouts from Irvington.  They came with their parents and troop leaders and helped us sort and check for expiration dates a huge amount of food that had been donated over the holidays.  It’s all in a room upstairs in the church, neatly sorted and shelved, and it only took them about an hour to do it all.  They were so enthusiastic that we may ask them back at some point to help with more deliveries.
          One of the deliveries we’re looking forward to is the Kids Can campaign which happens three times a year at Springhurst.  The parents, students and teachers have been doing this for us for several years now, and we’ve come to count on them to collect shelf-stable food, organize it and bring it to us.  This is the second delivery so far this year, and it’s the second- and third-graders’ turn.  Thanks especially to Nola Kende Long and Sharon Van Engen, who coordinated these drives last year and are doing it again this year.  It’s a lot of work and they do a wonderful job!
          I wish everybody on this list a safe, healthy and sane 2020.
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December 26, 2019

Good afternoon, everybody – since Christmas was Wednesday, we were open on Monday, December 23.  In the morning we served 54 families with 94 adults, 64 children and 23 seniors.  Then in the evening we served another 18 families with 29 adults, 29 children and 5 more seniors.  This brought us to a record of 72 families, 123 adults, 93 children and 28 seniors.  We served 252 people on Monday.  In 2019 we averaged 36 families a week and 129 people a week.  In 2018 and 2017 we averaged 30 families a week, so we’re creeping up, particularly among seniors, which is a good thing.  In 2019 we served 6,653 people.

          We were surprised on Monday by a visit from Officer Justin Kamke of the Dobbs Ferry Policemen’s Benevolent Association.  They brought forty boxes, each containing an assortment of holiday foods.  This nicely accompanied the gift cards we were giving out.  Plus volunteer Mary Anne Griggs brought candies and goodies for the clients.  So, a good time was had by all.
          We’ll open again on Wednesday, January 8.  This has been a banner year for the pantry, thanks to an amazing group of volunteers, some of whom have been with us since the beginning, and an equally amazing group of donors, including individuals, churches, synagogues and other organizations.  The combination of these dedicated volunteers and an outpouring of donations, some from people and groups who have donated to us multiple times over the years, has enabled the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry to thrive and grow in our effort to knock out food insecurity in the Rivertowns and Greenburgh.  There is still hunger in our area, but it’s clear to me that we’ve been able to help our clients feed themselves and their children, and we hope to continue to do that for a long time to come.
          Hope everybody on this list stays warm, healthy and safe throughout the holidays.
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December 19, 2019

Good afternoon, everybody – yesterday we served a record 55 families, including 109 adults, 73 children and 20 seniors for a total of 202 people.

          Since Christmas and New Years fall on Wednesdays, we’ll be open this coming Monday, the 23rd, from 10:00 to noon and from 5:30 to 7:00.  Instead of turkey, we’ll give out Stop & Shop gift cards, like we did at Thanksgiving.  A lot of our budget is spent around the holidays, but it’s an important time for our clients, and it’s a needy time since the children are out of school and can’t even count on lunch in the cafeteria.  We’ll then reopen on Wednesday, January 8.
          We volunteers have been going strong since 2013.  A lot of us are really looking forward to this brief break.
          The students from the Dobbs Ferry High School Ecology Club, led by teacher and advisor Kelly Ravo, dropped off bags and bags of food donations to us during their lunchhour yesterday.  They collected bottles, recycled them and spent the money on food for the pantry, plus they brought donations from home.  Thanks to the kids and Ms. Ravo for coming up with this idea for us.
          A cub scout troop from Irvington will be coming after church on January 5 to help us sort the food we have stored upstairs from the donations we’ve received.  They’ll be checking for outdated food, sorting it into food groups and placing it on the shelves we have upstairs.  I don’t know whether they’ll be able to finish it all in one fell swoop, but they can make a big dent in it, and maybe they can even come back to finish the job.  What a wonderful and motivated group they are.
          Hope everybody is managing to enjoy the holidays plus stay warm.
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December 11, 2019

Good afternoon, everybody – today, despite the bad weather, we served 31 families, including 55 adults, 42 children and 12 seniors for a total of 109 people served.

          This morning we didn’t have any produce for our clients.  We remember the days in spring, summer and fall when we took the CSA and Roots and Wings garden for granted, and were used to offering a variety of fruits and vegetables to our clients every week.  In winter, once a month we receive a big supply of produce from Feeding Westchester, which will happen next week, but for the other weeks we either have nothing to offer or one of our volunteers goes to Stop & Shop and purchases some produce to be given the next day.  We really appreciate everyone’s monetary donations during the winter to help us provide plenty of fresh produce for our clients.
          When we first started the pantry back in 2013 all we had to offer were canned vegetables and fruits.  Gradually our clients got used to having beautiful, fresh produce, and now they’re disappointed if we don’t have it.  I’m glad they appreciate the fresh produce that’s grown in our area, and many clients have learned about fruits and vegetables they didn’t know about.
          Dobbs Ferry High School is helping us again.  A teacher by the name of Kelly Ravo, who is the Ecology Club Advisor, contacted me and told me the students are collecting cans and bottles at school, and this week they’ll be taking them to Stop & Shop to deposit.  They’ll then take the money and use it to buy food for us at Stop & Shop, and they’ll bring it to us next Wednesday during their lunch hour at 11:45 a.m.  What a unique idea, and we can certainly use the food.
          Ardsley United Methodist is helping us as well.  Ken Stahn showed up with fifteen bags of food collected from the congregation.  We’ll be able to give it all out next week.
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December 5, 2019

Good afternoon, everybody – yesterday we served 33 families with 62 adults, 35 children and 20 seniors for a total of 117 people.  In the month of November we averaged 40 families and 153 people a week.

          We received a huge donation of food from Cabrini of Westchester, and two very kind Cabrini employees plus our strongest volunteers carried it all upstairs to a room since there was no space downstairs.
          Several bags and boxes of food from Cabrini are waiting for a troop of Irvington Cub Scouts to come on a Saturday or Sunday in the near future to organize all the food, check for expiration dates and put it all on shelves upstairs for us to bring down in bits and pieces as we need it.  The leaders want us to educate the boys about hunger in general and the importance of pantries and soup kitchens, which we will be glad to do.
          Last Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, our volunteers gave out 45 pies, both pumpkin and apple, made by the South Church teen group.  And one of the teens even came to help out at the pantry that day.  South Church has a great teen group and a very active Faith and Justice Lab for all the children, from early childhood to teen.  The younger children have been collecting food for us every Sunday for the last few weeks, and after church this Sunday the children will gather the food and stock the shelves of the pantry.  This is how the children at South Church are coming to understand that there really is hunger and need in the Rivertowns.

 

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December 1, 2019

Good evening, everybody – I wasn’t at the pantry last Wednesday, but our other volunteers soldiered on both morning and evening, despite whatever holiday preparations they were involved in.  Thanks so much to all of our volunteers, many of whom have kept this pantry going for the last six years.  This past Wednesday in the morning they served 40 families consisting of 75 adults, 59 children and 11 seniors, for a total of 151 people.  Then in the evening three stalwart volunteers served another 8 families with 16 adults, 14 children and 5 seniors, adding up to 35 people.  This brought us to a total of 48 families, 91 adults, 73 children and 16 seniors.  They served 186 people last Wednesday.

          The volunteers gave out the last of our Stop & Shop gift cards, which we give in lieu of a turkey, since not everybody wants turkey.  We did end up with three donated turkeys, which we gave as prizes on Wednesday.
          I hope everybody stayed safe and warm on Thanksgiving, and I hope everybody is safe and warm as I write this, when the weather’s terrible outside.
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November 20, 2019

Good evening, everybody – Today we served a total of 47 families, including 91 adults, 72 children and 17 seniors, for a total of 180 people.

          We’ve been receiving a heartwarming number of donations, both financial and edible, from many churches, synagogues and individuals, some of whom are on this list.  We are grateful, and it’s made it possible for us to give Stop & Shop gift cards to all our clients today.  We’ll do the same thing at Christmas, so we really appreciate the contributions.
          Last year a wonderful woman by the name of Meg Lauer passed away much too soon.  She loved the pantry and asked that people donate to us in lieu of flowers.  We received many donations in her name, and her husband, Mark Lauer, still continues to remember us even though he lives far away.  Our deepest thanks continue to go out to the Lauer family.
          The Interfaith Caring Community, of which South Church is a member, will be having an Interfaith Thanksgiving Service on Sunday, November 24 from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Church at 59 East Main Street in Elmsford.  There will be music, words of wisdom and refreshments.  Bring some shelf-stable food items for the OLMC food pantry (please check for expiration dates).  Come one, come all.
          This coming Sunday, also November 24, the South Church teen group will be making pies for the pantry to give out the day before Thanksgiving.  Marc, Peter and Lenore will be with them and they’ll talk about the importance of food pantries and what it might be like to be food-insecure.  A great learning experience for the kids, and fun as well.  Thanks to Marc, Peter and Lenore for doing this.
          I was contacted by the leader of a group of Cub Scouts who want to help the pantry by sorting and stocking food on a Saturday morning.  We’ve received a donation of food from the Dobbs Ferry Garden Club, and we’re expecting another donation of food from Cabrini of Westchester, so, with the help of my husband Benny, the Scouts will have plenty to do.
          We’ll be open both morning and evening the day before Thanksgiving.  Benny and I will not be there, but the volunteers will carry on.  Thanks to all of you.
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November 13, 2019

Good evening, everybody – today we served 30 families, including 60 adults, 39 children and 14 seniors.  This came to a total of 105 people served.

          This coming Saturday there’s a potluck at South Church.  We’ll eat and then we’ll watch the movie “Groundhog Day”.  Anybody on this list would be welcome at the potluck.  Just call me or send me an e-mail and I’ll give you the details.  The more the merrier.
          Christmas and New Years has been a thorny problem for us at the pantry because they both fall on a Wednesday, when we’re usually open.  We’ll be closed on both those days, but we wanted our clients to have some food for the holidays, so we decided we’ll be open on Monday, December 23 both in the morning from 10:00 to noon and in the evening from 5:30 to 7:00.
          We received a wonderful grant from the Anbinder Foundation.  They’ve helped us in previous years also, and we are eternally grateful to the people at the Foundation and their local associates as well.
          Today a woman by the name of Betty Cruz-Roman from Westchester Independent Living Services visited us.  She sat and talked with several of our clients to see if her organization can be helpful in some way to our clients.  She’s going to accompany one of our clients to a meeting to discuss insurance issues, and she’s going to come back once a month to see how she can help people.  And she speaks both English and Spanish!  I’m glad we have a chance to offer our clients other help in addition to food.
          We also received more diapers from Dr. Nitin Gupta of Rivertowns Pediatrics.  This is the second time he’s helped us out with diapers.  He’s a very caring, concerned person, and he knows how expensive diapers are.  We’re lucky he has established his practice here in the Rivertowns.

 

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November 6, 2019

Good evening, everybody – today we served 36 families with 71 adults, 52 children and 16 seniors.  This brought us to a total of 139 people.

          The South Church teen group will be making pies for our clients, which we’ll give out the day before Thanksgiving.  Not only that, but their leader, Lenore, wants each member of the group to pull out of a jar a “persona”, which will describe in a few words the circumstances a person might find themselves in which would lead them to seek help from a food pantry.  The teen would then mentally put themselves into that persona’s shoes for a little while, just to see how it feels to be food-insecure.  This is part of South Church’s Faith and Justice goal of helping the children in the church to see places where justice is needed in the world.
          During the month of November Stop & Shop is selling $2.50 tote bags with the words “give back” on them.  If you buy a bag (or two), take it home and go to the Stop & Shop website to enter the unique identifier which appears on the bag you bought, you’ll get a list of local charities, including the food pantry.  You can then choose a charity and that charity will get $1.00 of the $2.50 you spent.  Hopefully people on this list, who are the people who care about us, will do this for us this month.  Thank you in advance!
          One of our clients has a grandchild who suffers from failure to thrive.  She’s tiny for her age and isn’t growing properly.  We’ve been providing our client with Pediasure for the girl, and the client says she’s grown and has gained weight as a result of drinking the Pediasure.  Another of our volunteers, on his own, provides a client with Boost because, due to illness, this is one of the few ways she can nourish herself.  We’re happy that our clients can be helped this way.  There’s more than one way to nourish a food-insecure client.
          This past weekend we received another twenty dozen eggs from the Hastings Farmers’ Market.  We don’t know exactly whom to thank, but the people who run the farmers’ market are a wonderful and caring group of people.
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October 31, 2019

Good afternoon, everybody – yesterday in the morning we served 33 families with 62 adults, 46 children and 13 seniors for a total of 113 people.  Then in the evening we served another 18 families including 37 adults, 28 children and 6 seniors for a total of 73 people.  So, altogether we served 51 families with 99 adults, 74 children and 19 seniors, which comes to a total of 186 people.  In the month of October we served an average of 35 families a week and 122 people a week.

          Through Share Your Wish, another child has collected money for the pantry instead of gifts for her sixth birthday.  In choosing the pantry, the little girl said “food is something people can’t live without.”.   And her father’s company will match the gift!  What a thoughtful, generous thing for a six-year-old, and her family, to do!  It makes me feel good about the next generation.
          This past Tuesday we received a huge donation of food collected by the Kids Can campaign at Springhurst School.  The Kids Can campaign has been running for several years at Springhurst, and this year Nola Kende Long and Sharon McCann-Doyle organized the entire endeavor.  And it’s a huge endeavor, which takes place three times a year.  My hat is off to Nola and Sharon, and to all the people who helped them and will help them throughout the year.  That food is so important to us, and a large part of it was given out this past Wednesday!
          We also received a lot of food from the Irvington Library and from St. Barnabas in Ardsley.  Thanks so much to everybody who keeps us in mind and to everybody who collects it and brings it to us.
          We’re gearing up for the holidays.  We like to give a Stop & Shop gift card to our clients for Thanksgiving and Christmas.  That way they can buy whatever they want, whether it’s turkey or something else.  We’ll also have pies for them and something else for Christmas.
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