Editor's note: we are proud to welcome Lily Newman to our HamletHub team. She is a student at Wooster School and has been finding ways to serve those in need in the midst of our current health crisis. Here, she introduces readers to "Feeding Westchester", a philanthropic initiative she is involved with.
As a part of Feeding America, Feeding Westchester’s mission is to “end hunger in Westchester.” During this time of the Coronavirus pandemic, their efforts are so important. Many more families are struggling to get enough food due to illness or loss of income. To help those who are food insecure, they are setting up Mobile Food Pantries in different locations where all those who are in need are welcome to pick up fresh produce and meats.
Matt Honeycutt, VP of Development, puts this time into perspective; “Every year, Feeding Westchester helps feed nearly 200,000 children, families, and seniors. Today, we’re seeing that need double overnight. Right now, we’re meeting the immediate needs of so many but we know the need is only going to grow as time goes on. That’s why we need everyone to pitch in now and give to support the work of food banks like ours.”
On Wednesday, March 18th, Feeding Westchester held the first Mobile Food Pantry at North Salem MS/HS. Members of the community such as students and teachers came out to volunteer and help distribute the food. Boxes of foods like frozen meat, asparagus, apples, grapes, and melons were unloaded from the truck and onto tables. The food usually comes from donations from grocery stores, but with their empty shelves, a market in the Bronx supplied. As well as being able to pick up the food at the pantry, some families requested deliveries that volunteers brought to their homes. Dr. Stephanie Bell, the assistant principal of Pequenakonck Elementary in North Salem, remarked at how “humbled [she] felt to be able to provide for families.”
Of course, appropriate precautionary measures were taken: gloves, hand sanitizer, and distance between tables to keep everyone as safe as possible. Both families and individual people came, all in smiles. These interactions between the volunteers and those getting food were inspiring.
In times like these, helping each other and reaching out is most important. One woman mentioned that her neighbor had called her to let her know Feeding Westchester would be handing out food that morning.
These positive actions and connections help to keep our communities strong and make us feel good during this scary time. As Peter Pozo, their Mobile Food Pantry Coordinator, said: “All we ask of people in communities that can help is to participate, donate time, product or financially support our mission! Especially in these awkward and hard times. As human beings helping other human beings in need, we not only need to make a difference BUT be the difference!”
Learn more about Feeding Westchester here