Sara Sellitti with a beautiful basket of vegetables and herbs from the Springhurst garden

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November 5, 2020

Good afternoon, everybody – October 28 was the last Wednesday of the month, so we offered Stop & Shop gift cards as well as food.  We ended up serving 136 families, as opposed to the 96 we had served the week before.  Of those 136, we served a record 23 families that evening.  In total we served 272 adults, 186 children and 50 seniors, which brought us to 508 people served.  On the last Wednesday in September we served 132 families, so we’ve grown throughout the month.  In October we averaged 106 families and 393 people per week.  As I’ve mentioned before, in November and December we’ll be giving Stop & Shop gift cards twice instead of once, so keep those donations coming.  We exist only because of the donations made by the people on this list and in the community.  Thanks to all of you.


In addition to monetary donations, I was contacted by Heather Rhyu, owner of Club Pilates in Ardsley, Scarsdale and Quaker Ridge, who will be organizing a food drive for us among her members.  These food drives mean a lot to us, and more and more groups are learning to check the food they donate to make sure it hasn’t expired.  That makes our job so much easier.


Ardsley United Methodist has continued with their food drives on certain Saturday mornings.  They just did one for us on Halloween, and their next one is November 14 from 10:00 to 1:00, so you can always drop off your donations with them.  Ongoing thanks to Ken Stahn, who faithfully comes to the church with his car packed with bags and boxes of food for us.


We’re back to providing prepared meals to our clients thanks to a grant obtained by Michelle Adams of On The Line.  This past Wednesday it was from Go Su in Irvington and last week it was from River City Grille, also in Irvington.  We’ll have several more weeks of prepared meals thanks to the hard work of Michelle in arranging for the grant and to the staff of the restaurants, who work diligently to prepare and package these meals for our clients.  


Does everybody on this list know that there’s a garden at Springhurst School in Dobbs Ferry?  The children help with planting, cultivating and harvesting the vegetables and herbs.  On October 28 Sara Sellitti, a Springhurst parent, showed up with a basket full of beautiful produce from the garden, and she ended up staying to help with the pantry.  We need all the extra produce we can get because we’ve had to say goodbye for the season to Fable Farm, our beloved CSA (community-supported agriculture).  The Roots and Wings garden behind the church is pretty much finished with its yield also, which means we must purchase produce to our clients.  They love the fresh fruits and vegetables, and we are determined to offer it every week, even though it’s expensive to do so.


I want to mention an important new group that’s forming in Dobbs Ferry – it’s called Dobbs Ferry for Social Justice, and its aim is to provide equality for everyone in the Rivertowns.  I mention them because one of the things the group wants to do is to support the pantry.   Marissa O’Hare is one of the founders of the group, and they’re looking into doing a food drive for us at Stop & Shop over the holidays.  They’re aiming for early December, so keep an eye out so that you can do your shopping at Stop & Shop and pick up something extra for the pantry.  A big thank-you to Marissa and all the members of Dobbs Ferry for Social Justice!

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October 22, 2020

Good afternoon, everybody – Yesterday we served 96 families, including 183 adults, 125 children and 41 seniors, for a total of 349 people.  Last week we served 96 families and the week before 95, so maybe this will be our new normal for the weeks when we don’t give Stop & Shop gift cards.  The last Wednesday of September, which was the last time we gave gift cards in addition to food, we served 132 families.  This coming Wednesday, since it’s the last Wednesday of the month, we’ll be giving gift cards again, so we’ll see how many people arrive.  


Speaking of gift cards, in November and December we want to give gift cards twice instead of once due to the holidays.  This will be a tremendous expense for us, though, since so many people want the dignity and independence of being able to choose for themselves what they want to buy instead of the prepackaged box we give them.  I know we can look to the people on this list to come through for us with extra donations to help us help our clients.  


Have I mentioned that we’re back to offering prepared meals to our clients from local restaurants in addition to what they get from us?  Two weeks ago the clients took home roast pork with potatoes and peas from The Cookery in Dobbs Ferry.  The packages come in a couple of different sizes, depending on the size of the family.  This past Wednesday the meals were provided by Harper’s Restaurant in Dobbs Ferry, and next week it will be River City Grille in Irvington.  This is a group of restaurants by the name of On The Line who want to help in any way they can.  Our clients will be eating delicious food from these restaurants for several weeks to come.


We had a wonderful time at the pantry fundraiser at Sam’s Restaurant.  It was mostly take-out because many people are not ready to eat inside a restaurant.  It went so well that we’re thinking of doing similar fundraisers at other restaurants in the area – maybe one every couple of months or so.  We’ll definitely keep you posted.


I was contacted by a new group by the name of Dobbs Ferry for Social Justice.  The email was from cofounder Marissa O’Hare, who said the group already consists of 63 members!  And they want to know how the group can help the pantry.  We’ll be working together to come up with a plan for the best way for them to support us.  I’m proud to live in a village that’s forming a group specifically for social justice.


We were visited yesterday by Assemblyperson Tom Abinanti and his assistant, Alyssa Jacobs.  They brought us a new supply of masks and hand sanitizer.  We offer these to any client who needs them, and we were running low.  Thanks so much to Tom and Alyssa or keeping us well-supplied.


Thanks also to Ardsley United Methodist Church.  They did another food drive for us this past Saturday, and Ken Stahn dropped off bag after bag of food donated by the church members and generous people from the community.  I don’t know what we’d do without faithful people like the folks at Ardsley Methodist.  And they’re doing it again on October 31.  We can use it all!

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October 15, 2020

Good afternoon, everybody – Yesterday we served 96 families, including 190 adults, 135 children and 29 seniors, for a total of 354 people.  We delivered food to 16 families who couldn’t make it for one reason or another.  We have a stellar team of volunteers who are willing to drive food to people who are in need.  Thanks to all of you!


For the first time ever, the Scarsdale Women’s Club did a food drive for us (they learned about us from Judy Whelan at Ardsley Methodist), and they drove the food over to us in a caravan of cars yesterday.  They brought us so much food that we were overwhelmed!  We’re still sorting through it!  What a generous bunch of people they are at the Scarsdale Women’s Club.  And the President, Rosemary King, said they’re thinking of doing another drive for us!


And on top of that Ardsley Methodist will be doing another food collection for us this Saturday, the 17th, between the hours of 10:00 and 1:00.  Then hopefully Ken Stahn will deliver the food to us this Monday.  They’ll also be collecting on the 31st, so put both dates into your calendar.


Believe me, even though our cup is running over right now, we need all this food.  We’re still serving a lot of families who never came to us before.  It has tapered off somewhat now that we’re not giving Stop & Shop gift cards every week, but we’re still serving three times as many people as we used to, who come whether there’s a gift card or not. 


A great new development for us is the idea of neighborhood food drives.  It started out with my block of Ogden Place.  Then the neighbors on Belden Avenue did one.  Then Micah Spellman organized a drive throughout The Landing, and most-recently the O’Leary family brought food from their neighbors at Hunters Run.  The best part is how involved the children get.  In the case of the folks from The Landing and Hunters Run, the children helped to deliver the food, and they were proud to be helping hungry people.  Thanks to all of you, and thanks for educating your children about giving to others!


This doesn’t even touch the people who are donating to us financially.  In spite of all this food we still need to buy fresh produce every week plus whatever products we’re low on, and we rely on people who donate through PayPal or by sending us a check.  I thought there was only one person who was sending us a recurring, monthly donation, but there are actually fourteen individuals who automatically help us every month.  My deepest thanks to every one of you who have made it possible for us to rely on that amount of money every month.


On The Line is back with us again for nine weeks!  Yesterday our clients took home a prepared meal of roast pork, mashed potatoes and peas from the Cookery in Dobbs Ferry.  Thanks to the cooks at The Cookery and On The Line for working hard to organize this for our clients.  They ate well yesterday!


See everybody at Sam’s tonight!

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October 8, 2020

Good evening, everybody – yesterday our numbers were a little more sane since we didn’t give out Stop & Shop gift cards.  We served 95 families (still a far cry from the 35-40 we were serving a year ago), including 192 adults, 134 children and 34 seniors, for a total of 360 people served.  One thing I’ve noticed is that the number of seniors we’re serving has gone way up.  I’m very glad about that.  It’s tough to continue to live in Westchester County as a senior citizen, and if we can help someone stay here, so much the better.


I received a phone call from the Scarsdale Women’s Club.  They did a surprise food drive for us!  They got the idea from the Ardsley United Methodist Church after seeing the multiple food drives our friends there have been doing for us.  They’ll be dropping the food off this coming Wednesday, and believe me, we can use it.  And they’ve promised to check all the food ahead of time to make sure nothing has expired.  That will save us so much time and work.  Thanks in advance to all those generous members.


All through the summer our clients were receiving prepared meals from a consortium of restaurants known as On The Line, who wanted to provide food for hungry families during the pandemic.  Now the organization got a grant to start offering the meals again.  In the next couple of weeks we’ll again have a table with prepared meals on it for all our families.  These restaurants are all nearby, and we give them a vote of thanks for caring about needy families during this difficult time.


Every Wednesday after the pantry we volunteers get together on a Zoom meeting to talk about how it went.  This past Wednesday we were talking about other food pantries who have been able to count on sustaining donors, and we began to wonder if there are people on this list who could do that for us.  We do have one person who has been automatically sending us a small donation every month, and she’s been doing it for years.  But just the one.  Is there anybody out there who could become a sustaining donor for us?  It would help a lot to be able to count on a certain amount coming regularly every month.


See everybody at Sam’s on October 15!  

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Correction to October 3 post

Robin, Co-Director of SPRING Community Partners and person with a head for numbers, finds that in September we served an average of 101 families and 381 people, not 539.

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October 3, 2020

Good afternoon, everybody – Last Wednesday was a busy one for us.  We served 132 families, including 268 adults, 181 children and 47 seniors, for a total of 496 people.  Since it was the end of the month we gave Stop & Shop gift cards also.  Our clients love those gift cards, but we can no longer give them out every week the way we used to do.  In September we served an average of 101 families and 539 people a week.  We’re hoping to be able to give gift cards out twice a month around the holidays in November and December in place of turkeys or whatever.  Then people can buy whatever they want for the holidays.


Between March and September we served a total of 11,843 people.  And we’re still going!  thanks to Robin Larkins, Co-Director of SPRING Community Partners, for coming up with figures like this for us.  She has a head for numbers!


Here’s some exciting news – We’ll be doing another one of our fundraisers at Sam’s Restaurant at 128 Main Street in Dobbs Ferry (samsofdobbsferry.com) on Thursday, October 15.  You can get takeout or eat lunch or dinner that day and the Pantry will get part of the proceeds.  Plus you won’t have to cook or wash dishes that day.  Maurice Giliberti, owner of Sam’s since 1984, has supported the Pantry in every way since we started, and even in the face of the pandemic he’s willing to do it again.  Sam’s pizza is the best in town, and you should try their pork chops with vinegar peppers – what a treat!!


My co-director, Vera Halpenny, and I attended the monthly meeting of the Greenburgh Human Rights Committee at the invitation of long-time member Stu Hackel.  Focus was on issues around racist graffiti, Zoom bombing and improving relations with police in Greenburgh, but their particular interest at this meeting was on food insecurity.  We gave a history and told them what we’ve been up against these last few months.  They wanted to know how they could help and we asked them to mention us on their Facebook page.  People may be motivated to make a contribution, and the more donations we get the better, especially with the holidays coming.


I must highlight the help we’ve been receiving from caterer Renee Kashuba of MadeByRK (foodmadebyrk.com).  All summer she supplied gourmet soups and homemade breads to all our hungry clients, and now she’s still with us.  Every week she provides us with small packages of rice, beans, flour and oatmeal, so that we can put them into the prepackaged boxes for the clients. Our clients are still being served by her and they don’t even know it.  Thanks for staying with us, RK! 

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September 28, 2020

Good afternoon, everyone – Last Wednesday we served  99 families, including 204 adults, 131 children and 40 seniors, for a total of 375 people served.  It looks like we’re arriving at a new normal of around 100 families a week, as opposed to the 35-40 we used to serve.  Since this coming Wednesday is the last Wednesday of the month, we’ll be giving out Stop & Shop gift cards in addition to food, so we expect an even bigger crowd, whether it rains or not.


I have exciting news!  Vera Halpenny, a hard-working volunteer who’s been with us for a year or so, has agreed to be my co-director.  I’m not alone anymore!  Many on this list will remember my co-director Lyn McLean, who moved away quite a while ago.  Now Vera has stepped up to fill the gap.  Thank you, Vera!  She’s already plunging in!


Benny and I ate at Sam’s Restaurant at 128 Main Street in Dobbs Ferry last Thursday night and Maurice agreed that the pantry can do a fundraiser at his restaurant again.  At least three times in the past we’ve had a night, usually in October, when the pantry gets 15% of the proceeds that night, including drinks and take-out.  We haven’t set a date yet, but I’ll be sure to let everybody know.  Then plan on eating out that night, or at least getting a pizza.  You won’t have to wash dishes that night, and you’ll be helping needy families in the Rivertowns and Greenburgh.  Watch for notifications about the date on social media, too.


Speaking of social media, SPRING co-director and photographer Ellen Crane posted a series of pictures of a wonderful family from Hunters Run who did a neighborhood food drive for us.  She posted the pictures on the pantry’s Facebook page, SPRING’s Facebook page, 10522, and many others.  She’s very skilled at social media, and a number of people made donations to the pantry after seeing the merry pictures of those children proudly delivering the food they collected.  


This past Saturday Ardsley United Methodist did it again!  They held a food drive for us and collected a carload of food for Ken Stahn to deliver to us at the pantry.  And they’ll be doing it again on Saturday October 17 and Saturday, October 31 from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00.  They are a dedicated, hard-working bunch, and Ken has been delivering food to us from Ardsley Methodist for years.  These people have been our friends since we opened and we love them for it.

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September 16, 2020

Good evening, everyone – today we served 95 families, with 193 adults, 131 children and 32 seniors, for a total of 356 people served.  We’ve been serving fewer families this month, hopefully because people are being called back to work.  


We’ve been talking about how to keep the pantry going in the winter months without bringing clients inside like we used to do.  Once there’s a vaccine and we’ve all been vaccinated we can go back to doing what we used to do, but for this winter we’re hoping everyone can stay outside, step up to the table, pick up their box and bag and be on their way.  We volunteers will be bundled up.  Right now the weather’s perfect, so we have time to think about this.


We’re also figuring out how the South Church sanctuary can eventually be open for church services while also allowing us to continue using it as a pantry.  There’s plenty to think about now that fall is approaching.


I was talking to our beloved art therapist Stephanie Buck.  Our clients used to love being with her and doing art projects.  She’s thinking of ways to have a COVID art exhibit of the drawings and projects our clients have done over the months.  We’ll keep everybody posted.  And she has every intention of continuing with the art sessions as soon as we can all be together again.  


The holidays will be here before we know it, and we’re talking about what we can offer our clients beyond what we already do.  We don’t have space for turkeys, but maybe we can offer gift cards twice in November and December instead of once.  That would cost a lot of money, but hopefully the people on this list will donate and will encourage their friends to donate as well.  A big thanks to everybody who helps us in our fundraising.  

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September 15, 2020

This is why we need strong volunteers. This muscular volunteer is hefting 50 pounds of potatoes in preparation for this week’s pantry
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