A Greenhouse for the Food Insecure

Catholic Charities Community Services of Rockland unveiled a new greenhouse on its property in Haverstraw New York on Earth Day. Funded by a New York State grant secured by NYS Assemblyman Ken Zebrowski, the greenhouse is the first of its kind in the New York region to be constructed for the benefit a food pantry. Catholic Charities Community Services of Rockland provides healthy food choices for hundreds of families each year through generous donations of fresh produce from Stokes Farm in Tappan, as well as by growing their own vegetables in a garden on the property.

The goal is to use the garden and the greenhouse to not only provide fresh produce all year long, but to offer educational opportunities to teach children and adults about farming, the value of growing and eating fresh vegetables, and the positive environmental impact of eating fresh produce.

“I am pleased to be able to secure state funding for this groundbreaking and innovative greenhouse project. The new greenhouse will transform Catholic Charities from a traditional food pantry to a self-sustaining farming initiative that will feed residents throughout the county. This sustainable approach will both promote healthy living and fight hunger insecurity in Rockland,” said Assemblyman Zebrowski.

“One of our missions is to raise awareness about hunger and food insecurity in Rockland and bring fresh produce to our participants. Teaching them how to grow their own food provides them with a skill that they can use to help themselves in the future. The greenhouse, along with the garden, will enable us not only to grow fresh food all year long, but to teach the value of gardening and the importance of making healthy eating choices,” stated Martha Robles, Director of Catholic Charities Community Services of Rockland.

More information is available on the website at www.ccsrockland.org.

During the free event on April 22, area families enjoyed face painting, arts and crafts, clowns, a Tai Chi mini class, and a yoga demonstration. Sponsors for the day included Curti’s Landscaping, Stokes Farm, Good Samaritan Hospital WMC Health, Fidelis Care New York, Orange & Rockland, Sterling National Bank, Apple Bank, Solar City, Rockland Parent Magazine, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Michael’s, Home Depot, Green Leaf Printing, Inserra, Town of Haverstraw, United Health Care, and Union Restaurant.

The following elected officials were on hand for the event: Kenneth Zebrowski – Assemblyman, Ed Day – County Executive, George Hoehmann – Town of Clarkstown Supervisor, Aldan H. Wolf – Rockland County Legislator, Howard Phillips – Town of Haverstraw Supervisor & Board, Michael Kohut – Village of Haverstraw Mayor, Robert. D’Amelio – Village of West Haverstraw Mayor and Paul Peperato, Rockland County Clerk.

Catholic Charities Community Services of Rockland provides services to people of all ages, from every race and ethnic group from all over the County. The organization’s focus is to provide the necessities of life, including food, shelter and other emergency assistance to those in need. The compassionate and professional staff speak English, Spanish, French and Creole and assist people of all ages, races and religions in Rockland County. More information can be found at www.ccsrockland.org or by calling (845) 942-5791.

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In an average year CCCSR serves:

• 150 families dealing with financial crisis.

• 895 individuals who need referrals to other providers for information, workshops and counseling.

• 500 individuals to determine food stamp eligibility

• 135 families who require financial emergency relief for eviction prevention, utilities, funerals, and other basic needs.

• 90 families who are dealing with eviction.

• 40+ utility shut-off notice preventions.

• 115,000+ meals distributed to over 1,500 households including 6,052 adults, 588 elderly and over 5,029 children from our Food Pantry.

• 6,000 pounds of fresh vegetables are distributed to our Food Pantry participants from our Community Garden of Love.

• 40+ dedicated volunteers help to prepare, bag and distribute food


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