November 14, 2018

Good afternoon, everybody – today we served a total of 37 families, including 78 adults, 46 children and 11 seniors.  We served 135 people today.

A sensei from Edge Martial Arts at 145 Palisade Street in Dobbs Ferry came today with a large number of bags of food from children who are students at his martial arts studio.  Each bag had different foods in it, and each bag had a personal note in it.  Before the pantry was over we had given out all the bags of food.  What a thoughtful thing to do right at the holidays.  We hadn’t been aware that there was a martial arts studio at 145 Palisade, but now we’re well aware of them and how caring and concerned they are.
As they do every week, Westchester Milk delivered a case of milk to us this morning, but in addition, they included two turkeys!  They’ve brought a lot of different foods in addition to milk.  Two happy clients went home with a turkey today.
I got an e-mail from Mary Sherman, the VISTA volunteer who’s spending a year at Mercy College, organizing a food pantry like the one they have at their Bronx campus.  In her e-mail today she said that the food pantry at the Dobbs Ferry campus is up and running.  She asked us to share with them any food we have left over.  It turned out that we had extra bread and bagels left over this morning.  I texted Mary and she immediately sent a student over to pick up the bagels.  Maybe we’ll be able to help each other out from now on!
Another generous group is the Ardsley United Methodist Women.  Their President, Judy Whelan, dropped in this morning and delivered a large number of Stop & Shop gift cards for our clients.  We’ll give them out next week.  Everybody at Ardsley Methodist is wonderful, but especially the AUMC women.  And don’t forget, they have a new thrift shop, which is open on Thursdays.  Zion Episcopal also has a thrift shop on Thursdays, and I understand that they’re both very popular.  We have plenty of places to buy things at reasonable prices, and to donate things, too.



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November 9, 2018

Good afternoon, everybody – last Wednesday we served a total of 34 families, including 59 adults, 43 children and 18 seniors.  We served a total of 120 people on Wednesday.

Benny, Ellen and I had a wonderful time representing the pantry last Sunday at the Irvington Farmers’ Market.  The weather was perfect, and everybody was in a good mood.  People were generous with their donations into our cash donation basket, and one woman brought shelf-stable food as well.  People who didn’t know about us accepted brochures as well.
A student from the Masters School left me a message that the students have collected food for us for Thanksgiving.  They’re planning to deliver the food next week.  We appreciate everyone’s concern for us at the holidays.
I attended a fascinating discussion about bees at the Dobbs Ferry Woman’s Club on Monday.  Lo and behold, they had collected several bags of food for us, and one woman made a cash donation as well.  I just happened to be in the right place at the right time, plus I learned a lot about bees (colony collapse disorder is still a big concern).
Expressive arts therapist Stephanie Buck has been with us every Wednesday for several weeks now, and people are beginning to seek her out.  Instead of sitting and waiting to be called to pick out their food, they’re meeting with Stephanie in order to write and draw.  When it’s their turn to choose their food, we come and get them.  Hope Stephanie can continue this for a long, long time.
We were contacted by Feeding Westchester, letting us know they’ve heard from NY State of Health.  They’d like to send a trained staff person to each pantry in November or December, set up a table, and discuss possible free or low-cost health insurance with our clients.  Monique McCoy from Feeding Westchester says staff from NY State of Health did this last year and they were able to connect with people who qualified for health insurance and didn’t know it.   We’re waiting to be contacted by them, and we’ll be glad to cooperate.
We so appreciate the donations, both cash and food, that people have made to us recently.  Please don’t forget about us in January.


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November 2, 2018

Good morning, everyone – this past Wednesday we served 32 families in the morning, including 59 adults, 35 children and 15 seniors.  Then in the evening we served another 10 families with 20 adults, 15 children and 2 seniors for a total of 42 families with 79 adults, 50 children and 17 seniors.  We served a total of 147 people that day.  In the month of October we served 164 families and 551 people.  We averaged 33 families per week and 110 people per week.

Expressive arts therapist Stephanie Buck was with us again on Wednesday and worked with several children and several adults.  The clients really enjoy meeting with Stephanie to draw and talk.  A couple of clients specifically asked for Stephanie when they first arrived.  Stephanie’s hunch was that people really have a lot on their minds, and drawing and talking about what they’ve drawn may help.  She’s right!
PhD candidate Jen Cadenhead scheduled a focus group made up of several of our clients for this morning (Friday) to discuss nutrition and healthy eating.  I talked to her briefly and she said it went well except that one woman really didn’t speak much English and didn’t grasp what was being talked about.  We may try to pull together a group of Spanish-speaking women, since  many of our clients are Spanish-speaking, with someone to translate.
The Rivertowns Rotary Club has been working with a group of students at St. Christopher’s School in Dobbs Ferry.  Several of the Rotarians escorted some of the students from house to house on October 30 to gather shelf-stable items for the pantry.  On Wednesday when the pantry was in process Greg Neff, the president of Rivertowns Rotary, and Dr. Nitin Gupta, who is an active member, delivered several huge boxes of food and other products which the children had picked up from the houses.  The Rivertowns Rotary had advertised this effort beforehand, and people either directly donated the food or left food in front of their houses on the particular streets that were visited by the group.  Once again, I am overwhelmed by the generosity of the people in this village and groups like the Rotary Club for carrying out this tremendous effort.  Greg and Nitin are planning to do this again next year!
This morning I heard from English teacher Diana Castellano at Dobbs Ferry High School, telling me they want to encourage a spirit of giving in the students at the high school.  She and another teacher are going to organize a food drive among the students, similar to what they’ve been doing at Springhurst.  They’ll be delivering the food to us on November 15 or 16.  I’ll be there to meet the students.  I asked them to focus on providing diapers and wipes, among other products.  No matter how many diapers we receive, they come in and go out as soon as we get them.
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food pantry after a food drive for us at Springhurst School – thanks to students, parents and staff, especially Nola and Sharon

pantry after springhurst

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October 29, 2018 – letter to the Enterprise

To the Editor:

 Every fall people come from far and wide to the attic sale at Irvington Presbyterian Church.  It’s so popular and so many items are donated that the parishioners work all summer and fall to get everything organized and labeled.  Because of all their hard work, the proceeds from the sale are huge and, after expenses, all the money is given to charities.  This year, the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry was one of the lucky recipients of a generous donation from the Irvington Presbyterian Women’s Association.

 The Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry has received donations from the Women’s Association in the past as well, and we are eternally grateful that they have remembered us again.  The money will be put to use during November and December to provide our hungry clients with food to celebrate the holidays.  We thank everybody at the Irvington Presbyterian Church for their attitude, through the years, of help and caring. 

Submitted by Molly Rodriguez, Director, the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry at                                                          South Presbyterian Church 

October 29, 2018


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October 24, 2018

Good evening, everybody – today we served a total of 34 families, including 57 adults, 30 children and 19 seniors.  We served 107 people today.

Stephanie Buck, an expressive arts therapist, visited the pantry this morning and ended up working with several of our clients, including a child who came to the pantry with his mother.  Before the pantry started and also after the clients picked up their food, several people sat down with her and drew and talked about their drawings.  This is a volunteer effort on her part and we at the pantry are grateful that she can help the clients in this way.  She’ll be visiting the pantry each week to help any clients who wish to express themselves through art, or who just want to talk a little.
Jen Cadenhead, who helped start this pantry and whose husband built some of our shelves, is now working on her PhD, and will be doing a focus group in the near future with some of our clients in order to talk about nutrition and healthy eating.  We, and our clients, are lucky to have a nutritionist in our midst.
This coming Tuesday we’ll be receiving the first of three collections of food from the Kids Can program at Springhurst in Dobbs Ferry, organized by Nola Long and Sharon Van Engen.  The parents and staff at Springhurst have supported us from the beginning, and we’re grateful that there are such energetic parents and children at Springhurst.  It’s not easy to arrange one of these drives, yet we’ve been getting three deliveries a year for several years.
Boy Scout Troop 55 from Irvington is planning to do a food drive for us at Stop & Shop in the near future, similar to the annual drive done for us by the Dobbs Ferry football team (go Eagles!).  These food drives are very successful for us because the shoppers at Stop & Shop are generous, and the Boy Scouts will be just as irresistible ans the football players.
Also from Irvington, a woman affiliated with the Irvington schools arranged for a friend of hers who is a member of our church to bring containers of milk left behind by the students after lunch.  This morning there were 68 small containers of milk in our refrigerator, all of which were given out by noon.  Otherwise the milk might have gone to waste.
Speaking of milk, this morning we were visited by Matt and Danny of Westchester Milk (they donate milk to us every Wednesday).  They were interviewed by Megyn Kelly on her show, talking about the return of home delivery of milk.  Matt said that they’ll be interviewed by Channel 12 soon also   If anybody wants milk delivered to their home, let me know and I’ll put you in touch.
Next week is Halloween.  We’ll be open both morning and evening.  I may wear a costume, or maybe just a witch’s hat.
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October 11, 2018

Good afternoon, everybody – yesterday we served a total of 33 families, including 55 adults, 43 children and 11 seniors.  This adds up to 109 people served.

This past Saturday was the Ferry Festa in Dobbs Ferry.  The streets were closed and it was party,party, party until 8:00 at night.  South Church had a table at which the Pantry, Roots & Wings and our CSA, FABLE, were represented.  We had a beanbag game, which was very popular, and we gave out flyers about South Church’s various activities.  We also gave out brochures about the Pantry, and people gave donations throughout the day.  And the food was plentiful and delicious.
I was contacted by Dr. Nitin Gupta of Rivertowns Pediatrics, who’s opening an office in Dobbs Ferry.  He’s also active in the Rivertowns Rotary Club, and the Rotarians are working with the children at St. Christopher’s in Dobbs Ferry.  They want to involve the kids in the community and educate people about what St. Christopher’s does and who the kids are.  One of the projects they’ll be undertaking is for the kids to go trick-or-treating on Tuesday, October 30 to ask for shelf-stable foods for the Pantry.  They’ll be escorted by Rotarians, and Rotary will put out advance notice of the project so that nobody will be surprised when kids come knocking on their doors the day before Halloween.  We at the Pantry are grateful that Rotary has us in mind, and we’re also happy that the kids at St. Christopher’s are learning about us as well.
Yesterday we were visited by Janice Brown of NY Connects, which is a NYS-sponsored program which offers, at no charge, all kinds of services and supports for anybody who needs them.  Their goal is to “help people remain healthy and independent”.  They offer education, counseling and support services.  Janice felt that maybe some of our clients could use the services offered by NY Connects, and she just kind of hung around, chatted with people and gave out flyers and information.  She stayed for two hours, and had conversations with quite a few of our clients.  One client accepted a list of websites for people looking for work.  So, she was already able to help some of our clients.  She plans to visit once a month or so to see what services people may need.  She learned about us at a conference we attended sponsored by Feeding Westchester, whose thrust was helping our clients beyond giving food.  I think Janice and NY Connects fit that bill perfectly.
My long-term co-director, Lyn McLean, will be moving away at the end of the month.  This coming Wednesday will be her last turn at the pantry.  We’ve loved you, Lyn, and you’ve helped us in many ways through the years.  I know you’ll find ways to help people no matter where you go. 💕
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October 4, 2018

Good morning, everyone – yesterday we served a total of 28 families, including 48 adults, 32 children and 15 seniors for a total of 95 people.

This coming Saturday is the annual Ferry Festa in Dobbs Ferry, where from 1:00 to 8:00 the streets are closed and people can wander around, eat, listen to music, dance and visit all the tables representing stores and organizations in the area.  The pantry will be represented at the South Presbyterian Church table, along with Roots & Wings, Sacred Spirit Yoga and our CSA, FABLE. It’s a very merry affair, so we hope to see the people on this list at some point during the day.
We’ve been having great success with the bins we have placed at Stop & Shop, the Irvington Library, Greenburgh Town Hall, and the Dobbs Ferry Library.  Thanks to everybody who has been so generous.  Please check expiration dates, however.  We sometimes receive foods that expired years ago, and we’re disappointed to have to throw it out, but we’re required not to offer expired foods to our clients.  Our motto is “serving the hungry with dignity and respect”, and so far we’ve done a good job of it thanks to all of our donations, both edible and monetary (remember the PayPal function on our website,
We’ve been well-served all summer by FABLE, our CSA.  This is the last month, and our clients will miss all the fruits and vegetables FABLE has provided every week.  It’s been educational, both for us and our clients.  Yesterday, among many other foods, we served a new type of squash and a new type of radish, as well as broccoli rabe!    Our clients are becoming sophisticated.  We’ll order fresh fruits and vegetables on our own, of course, and once a month we receive a big supply of produce from Feeding Westchester, but we’ll still be looking forward to starting the CSA again next spring.
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Pantry team at Feeding Westchester 5K with fundraising award on September 23, 2018

5K team september 092318

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September 28, 2018

Good afternoon, everybody – this past Wednesday we served a total of 31 families in the morning, including 50 adults, 43 children and 10 seniors.  Then in the evening we served another 14 families with 29 adults, 23 children and 2 seniors.  In total we served 45 families, including 79 adults, 66 children and 12 seniors.  We served a total of 423 people this month, and we averaged 30 families and 85 people a week.

I was in touch with Mary Sherman, the VISTA volunteer at Mercy College, who says they’re continuing to work out the logistics of the opening of the food pantry at the campus in Dobbs Ferry.  They’ve already been operating one at the Bronx campus for quite some time, and it’s not only for students but for staff and teachers as well, who also suffer from food insecurity.  Apparently, it’s very well received and appreciated.  Mary says they’ve set a tentative grand opening date in Dobbs Ferry for Wednesday, November 14, subject to change.  Their goal is to have the pantry operated by the students, with staff oversight.  We wish them well, and we’ve offered to help in any way they need.
The Pantry 5K team of seven volunteers successfully completed the Feeding Westchester 5K at Pace University in Pleasantville this past Saturday, and we won an award for fundraising!  This speaks directly to some of the people on this list, as well as other friends and family members of the volunteers.  Thanks to everybody who donated, and we’ll be sure to register for the 5K again next year.  Maybe we’ll have more volunteers for the team!
Speaking of generous donors, a thirteen-year-old girl whose family belongs to Zion Episcopal Church had a birthday party, and she asked the guests to bring along something for the Pantry.  Carol Seischab brought us four packed boxes of food plus three extra bags, all filled with food donations for the Pantry.  Our special thanks to Willa and her family, and to Zion Episcopal, where Mother Mary Grambsch encourages parishioners to think of the Pantry at all times.  Not to mention Carol, who carries food to us from Zion and from Dobbs Ferry Lutheran Church nearly every week, and then sorts it and puts it all away.💕

You may have seen on the news or on Facebook or twitter that South Church served as a sanctuary for an Ecuadorian family from Ossining from Monday until Wednesday.  They lived for those two days in the upstairs of the church and cooked and ate in our kitchen.  ICE is not permitted to enter a church without a judicial warrant, and nobody came from ICE, so they were safe for those two days.  Their lawyer had submitted the wrong documents and, in spite of living in the U.S. for 24 years, they were in danger of deportation until their new lawyer arranged with a judge to sign a “do not deport” order.  Now they can continue with their lives in Ossining while their residency petition is processed in the courts.  Our Minister, Drew Paton, has vowed that we will provide sanctuary if ever necessary, and he made good on his word.
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