One of the best and worst things about working as a journalist in a small, close-knit region like the Lower Hudson Valley is that you come in contact with representatives from many charitable organizations looking to raise awareness about their cause. Name a problem (affordable housing, hunger, health care and mental health issues, disaster relief, etc.) and chances are good that there is an organization of dedicated volunteers mobilized to try and help residents cope.
Since becoming a mother, however, I find myself getting more emotional when I think about those issues and problems that impact children. It’s especially upsetting to know that children in the Lower Hudson Valley go hungry on a regular basis, and the numbers will only grow as the economy falters. The anguish a parent must experience when they can’t provide this basic need or worry where tomorrow or next week’s breakfast, lunch and dinner will come from. It’s called food insecurity and the people who volunteer at regional food pantries will tell you that it’s much more prevalent than you might think.
Food pantries can be a lifesaver, literally. Most of them gladly accept donations of non-perishable foods, money or volunteer time. And they need to keep their shelves stocked all year ’round, not just at Thanksgiving and Christmas, when we traditionally think about food drives. Check the Web site or call for more information. Here are just a few in the region:
Community Center of Northern Westchester, Route 117, Katonah.
Food Bank for Westchester, 358 Saw Mill River Road, Millwood, 914-923-110.
Westchester Coalition for the Hungry and Homeless, 48 Mamaroneck Ave., White Plains, 914-682-2737.
Gilead Presbyterian Church, 9 Church St., Carmel, 845-225-4586.
People to People Inc., 121 W. Nyack Road, Nanuet, 845-623-4900.
Food Bank of the Hudson Valley, 195 Hudson St., Cornwall-on-Hudson, 845-534-5344.
The Rockland County Department of Social Services posts a list of food pantries and soup kitchens on its Web site.
Make a difference in a child’s life. Pick up an extra box of cereal or a few canned goods and donate today. A family will thank you.
Photo by Kathy Gardner