May 22, 2019

Good evening, everybody – today we served 45 families, including 77 adults, 54 children and 24 seniors, for a total of 155 people.

          This past Saturday was the Spring Community Partners’ Spring children’s clothing boutique at South Church.  The members of Spring Community Partners collect clothing all year in order to offer these free boutiques twice a year, and they’re well-attended.  It takes hours the day before to arrange all the clothing according to size, etc., and the next morning the clothes disappear within an hour or so.  It’s a very merry event, and everybody goes home happy, including the exhausted parents and other members.  Spouses and children help out with putting the boutique together as well.  They’ve been doing these boutiques for years, so the members operate like a well-oiled machine.
          Our CSA starts on June 9!  We ordered two shares, so we should have plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables every week for our clients until the fall.  And we’re already receiving herbs from the Roots & Wings community garden behind the church.  Plus today Marc brought us tiny kale as well.
          We’re aware that more and more stores and other places are getting rid of plastic bags.  In order to do our part to help the environment, we’ve decided that, beginning July 1, we’ll stop offering plastic bags for our clients to take food home.  Instead, we’ll invest in reusable tote bags from Trader Joe’s or someplace.  We give out reusable tote bags during holiday seasons anyway, so this will enable our clients to respect the environment by using only reusable bags for their food.
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full pantry after postal workers’ food drive

full pantry after postal workers' drive

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May 16, 2019

Good afternoon, everybody – yesterday we served 45 families, including 78 adults, 52 children and 24 seniors, for a total of 154 people.

     The mail carriers’ drive this past Saturday was eminently successful, and there weren’t as many expired cans of food as in previous years.  We really appreciate that because it cuts down on the amount of sorting and throwing away we volunteers have to do.  Thanks to all the people in Dobbs Ferry who left food for their mail carrier, and thanks to the carriers who lugged the food to the Post Office, where our volunteers Mary Anne and Ed picked the food up and brought it to South Church.  Quite a bit of the food was given out yesterday.
     Also successful was a drive at Cabrini of Westchester, organized by Director of Recreation Sheri Gottlieb, which yielded lots of shelf-stable foods (none of which had expired), plus a check for the pantry.  The staff at Cabrini has helped the pantry through the years, and Sheri is a shining example of that effort.
     Marc Taiano and I attended a Feeding Westchester Community Gathering this morning in Peekskill, which is a chance for pantries to network and rub elbows.  There was a speaker from the Pace Women’s Justice Center and a speaker from the Greater New York Hospital Association, talking about a website by the name of www.hitesite.org, which offers guidance and resources about a whole host of services, and the site can be translated into many languages, including Spanish.  These speakers offered great information for us to pass on to our clients.  Feeding Westchester representative Monique McCoy was there, and she said, “it’s not just about food”.   They’d like us to be able to offer more information to our needy clients.
     This coming Tuesday is the delivery of the food gathered at Springhurst in its final Kids Can food drive of the year.  We’re looking forward to receiving this delivery because donations tend to dwindle during the summer, so the more we receive now the longer our supplies will last.
      I’m hoping the people on this list won’t forget us in the summer.  We’ll need food, diapers and financial donations throughout the summer (there’s a Pay Pal feature on our website, www.dobbsferrypantry.org).
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Dr. Nitin Gupta, organizer of the Rotarians’ diaper drive on May 5, 2019

rotary diaper drive - dr. gupta

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Pastor Drew and me at the Rotarians’ diaper drive on May 5, 2019

Pastor Drew and me at the Rotarians diaper drive

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May 9, 2019

Good evening, everyone – yesterday we served 38 families, with 76 adults, 50 children and 11 seniors, for a total of 136 people.

     While the pantry was going on we were visited by Monique McCoy of Feeding Westchester, which is the organization that helps and oversees all the pantries and soup kitchens throughout Westchester.  She brought a questionnaire which all the clients filled out, addressing their satisfaction with both the food they’re getting and the help they are receiving from the volunteers at our pantry.  Hopefully we’ll get some feedback from Monique about how we’re doing and whether we need to make any changes.  We’ll keep the people on this list posted about what we learn.
     The diaper drive sponsored by the Rivertowns Rotary Club last Sunday at Stop & Shop was a smashing success.  Many people bought diapers for us, and many others donated cash.  I knew it would be a success for two reasons:  Dr. Nitin Gupta and Cirstin Conneely, who organized and carried out the drive, are engaging, enthusiastic people.  I knew customers would respond to their message; and I knew that the people who shop at Stop & Shop are generous and caring.  They have always gone out of their way for us, and we can trust them to help us every time.
     This coming weekend is the free clothing boutique at South Church, sponsored by Spring Community Partners.  Spring is affiliated with the schools in Dobbs Ferry, and they go out of their way to ensure that students have whatever they need to succeed in school, including providing clothing for them.  The parents and teachers of Spring were the first ones to come up with the idea of creating a food pantry in Dobbs Ferry, based on their concern that students might be struggling with hunger, which would interfere with their ability to learn.  And here we are, all these years later, still providing food for the hungry.
     This weekend is also the postal workers’ food drive.  If you leave food for your mail carrier, please make sure it hasn’t expired.  Many people just grab something off their shelves, and it may have expired years ago.  Under Feeding Westchester’s rules, the pantry can’t offer expired food to our clients, which is a good thing.  That means we just have to throw away whatever expired food we receive, so please do your part to make sure we don’t have to do that.
     Hope everybody enjoys Mothers’ Day!
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May 1, 2019

Good evening, everybody – today we served 37 families, including 66 adults, 45 children and 17 seniors, for a total of 128 people.

     We were happy to see MaryJane Shimsky, District 12 representative on the Westchester County Board of Legislators, with a check for us from a fundraiser by the Board of Legislators.  The Board does an event like this every year, and this year the funds were dedicated to all the food pantries throughout Westchester.  MaryJane made sure that our name went into the pot, and for that we’re grateful.  After meeting with us, she and her assistants were headed to Mercy College to give a donation to their new food pantry.
     This coming Sunday, May 5, if you’re shopping at Stop & Shop, be sure to purchase some diapers and baby wipes to give to the Rotarians, who are doing a diaper drive for us from 1:00 to 5:00.  We have quite a few mothers of babies and toddlers in diapers, and sometimes they have to choose between diapers and food, so we at the pantry try to have diapers and wipes available as often as possible.
     Saturday, May 11 is the day that postal workers will be collecting shelf-stable food as they deliver mail, so mark that date on your calendar and put some food out for your mail carrier.  They bring the food to the Dobbs Ferry Post Office, and the following week we’ll pick it up and bring it to the Pantry.  Thanks in advance to everybody who donates.
     Springhurst School does a food collection for us three times a year, and the final one will take place between May 6 and 20.  Then they’ll bring us the food on the 21st.  I’m not sure which grades are participating in this drive, but some of you on this list may be sending food to school for this drive.  I don’t know what we’d do without Springhurst parents and children.
     Today towards the end of the pantry we received a huge supply of Girl Scout cookies from the local Girl Scouts.  No matter how many boxes we receive, they go like hot cakes.
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April 26, 2019

Good morning, everybody – On Wednesday morning we served 39 families, consisting of 70 adults, 45 children and 18 seniors.  Then in the evening we served another 13 families with 31 adults, 25 children and 2 seniors.  This brought us to a total of 52 families, 101 adults, 70 children and 20 seniors.  191 people were served on Wednesday.  During the month of April we averaged 38 families per week, and 135 people per week.

     I received a surprise phone call from Joy Haber, legislative assistant to MaryJane Shimsky, telling me that the Westchester County Board of Legislators held a fundraising drive a couple of months ago, working towards eradicating hunger in Westchester.  MaryJane has a check for us, and she’s bringing it to the pantry this coming Wednesday, May 1.  She’ll present us with the check, then the clients and we volunteers will applaud and we’ll take lots of pictures.  You’ll see them on the website and on my Facebook page and twitter feed!  So glad MaryJane has put us on the Board of Legislators’ map.
     I was contacted by the Postal Workers’ Union this past week, letting me know that there will be another annual postal workers’ food drive on Saturday, May 11.  The following week we’ll be able to pick up the food people donated.  I know they’re doing it in Dobbs Ferry and Ardsley,  I’m not sure about Irvington or Greenburgh, but everybody please mark that date on your calendar and, if you get a notice to do so, put out some shelf-stable food for your mail carrier that day.  Rest assured it will make its way to the pantry and our clients.
     On Sunday, May 5 Dr. Nitin Gupta and the Rotary Club will be doing a diaper drive for the pantry at Stop & Shop in Dobbs Ferry from 1:00 to 5:00.  Dr. Gupta has been a huge help to the pantry, and he’s being helped in this by South Church’s Cirstin Conneely.  Thanks to both of you and the Rotary Club.  If anybody on this list is shopping at Stop & Shop that day, plan to pick up a package or two of diapers to help the mothers at the pantry.  One mother just gave birth, and two more mothers will give birth over the summer.
     We’re planning for a representative of the Cornell Cooperative Extension to do a half-hour nutrition workshop for our clients some time in May.  Cornell offers these workshops for free, and it’s a great way for our clients to learn how to better nourish themselves and their families.  This is good timing, because we’ll be starting to pick up fruits and vegetables from the CSA (community supported agriculture) towards the end of May or early June.
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April 18, 2019

Good morning, everyone – yesterday we served 40 families, including 74 adults, 42 children and 19 seniors, for a total of 141 people

     We gave holiday gift cards to the clients so that they could use the cards for whatever they needed, and we gave out spring-y tote bags too.  In addition, during the pantry Roberta Bennett from the Dobbs Ferry Woman’s Club arrived with two hams as well as a check.  The hams were taken immediately.  We were also gifted with twelve bags of food plus some cash from Ardsley United Methodist.  We’re eternally grateful that the churches and organizations around here take care of us regularly, without our even having to ask.
     There was supposed to be a food drive sponsored by Feeding Westchester and NBC channels 4 and 47 this past Saturday.  We had hoped to be able to participate at the Dobbs Ferry Stop & Shop but it seems another pantry signed up before us.  I dropped over anyway to see how things were going and was surprised that nothing was going on.  It turned out that the whole thing was postponed due to the strike at Stop & Shop stores in Connecticut.  I let Feeding Westchester know that if that other pantry can’t participate on the rescheduled date, the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry will step right in.
     I received an unexpected phone call from Joy Haber, legislative assistant to MaryJane Shimsky.  She said there had been a hunger-related fund drive among legislators a couple of months ago, and that MaryJane has a check for us.  They had sent us a letter about it in March, but I don’t know what happened to that letter.  I was delighted to hear about it, and we arranged for MaryJane to bring the check to the pantry on Wednesday, May 1, to present us with the check with the clients looking on.  Joy will be with her also.  We’re excited for MaryJane to visit us while the pantry is going on.
     Happy Easter and Passover, everyone.
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April 10, 2019

Good afternoon, everybody – today we served a total of 35 families, including 64 adults, 40 children and 15 seniors.  We served 119 people today.

     On Sunday, May 19 there will be a concert at Temple Beth Shalom, 740 North Broadway in Hastings at 3:00 p.m. to benefit the Midnight Run.  There will be a number of outstanding musicians performing that afternoon, so mark it on your calendars so that you can help the Midnight Run.  For people who haven’t heard of the Midnight Run, it’s an organization of volunteers who take food and clothing to the homeless in New York City.  It’s made up of many churches, synagogues, schools and other organizations, who travel to the city in vans in the middle of the night to find homeless people as they sleep in parks, on steps, etc.  The benefit will provide funds to buy clothing for homeless people, including socks and underwear.  If you have clothing to donate (mostly men’s clothing) you can drop it off at the Midnight Run storefront at 97 Main St. in Dobbs Ferry.
     Next Wednesday we’ll be giving out gift cards to our clients, together with colorful tote bags.  They’ll be taking home less food because the roof over South Church’s Fellowship Hall is being repaired, which means for that week we can’t gain access to our cabinets.  Hopefully the clients will be happy with fresh produce from our monthly allotment from Feeding Westchester, what we can give them from the front pantry and other storage areas plus their gift cards.  And they’ll be able to do their art projects with our volunteer art therapist, Stephanie Buck.
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