Welcome to the Spring 2016 newsletter of the Larchmont Mamaroneck Hunger Task Force
We are an all-volunteer coalition of community organizations, houses of worship, and concerned citizens dedicated to assisting local families who need food. We run a Food Pantry twice a month that distributes a nutritional bag of groceries providing four days of meals.
Spring 2016 

 
I Need and Caring  

A few weeks ago I was reviewing the Food Pantry's

distribution statistics for 2015. While I knew we provided food to many needy families, the numbers were still pretty surprising. Last year we packed and distributed a grand total of 10,119 bags of food. That's an average of 421 bags every two weeks. These bags went to almost 400 households at each distribution. Almost one third of the people in these households are children. Since 1998, five years after the Pantry opened, the number of people receiving our help has more than tripled. Meeting this growing demand has required an extraordinary effort by our volunteers, whose numbers have also grown over the years. While we benefit from the numerous food drives conducted on our behalf during the year, we purchase the majority of the food we distribute using the donations we receive from hundreds of residents in Larchmont and Mamaroneck. Fortunately, the caring and generosity of our donors continue to grow along with the needs of our less fortunate neighbors.

Malcolm Frouman
President, LMHTF
I We Deliver

While most of the families we serve come to the Food Pantry to receive their food, quite a few are elderly, infirm, or otherwise unable to travel or pick up groceries, requiring home delivery. Twice a month, on Wednesday mornings, a dedicated corps of volunteers pull up to the Pantry in their vehicles and load up with bags of groceries and produce.


Volunteers Doris Block and Peter Cohen coordinate the home deliveries to ensure that anyone in need who can't come to the Pantry is placed onto one of our home-delivery routes. The volunteers who make the deliveries generously spend hours shuttling the food to our home-bound clients. Some of our delivery volunteers have been doing this for many years. Currently, Sally Maca, Michele Kalish, Trish Miller, Claire Brosnan, Karina Alvina, and Maureen Moriarty handle the
Left to right: Peter Cohen, Sally Maca, Claire Brosnan, Doris Block
deliveries to 47 apartments at the Mamaroneck Towers, an apartment building housing many of our elderly and/or disabled clients. The remaining 33 households, scattered throughout Larchmont and Mamaroneck, are divided into four groups and are serviced by volunteers Stuart Barrish, Linnet Tse, Sabrina Fiddelman, Amy Levere, Judy Kahler, Chrissi Adamo, Shelly Antinelli, Sheelagh Thomson and Nancy Pierson.

Deliveries include the same items that are distributed at the Pantry. Typically, each household receives canned tuna, canned or dried beans, canned fruits and vegetables, pasta or rice, dry cereal, a loaf of bread, a dozen eggs, fish, meat, cheese and a bag of fresh fruit and vegetables.  Thanksgiving, Christmas or Easter deliveries traditionally include a turkey, chicken or ham.

The number of our home-delivery clients has doubled over the last 10 years. The current roster includes 73 households of one or two persons and six households with larger families. Occasionally, a client who picks up food at the Pantry is injured or ill, requiring temporary home delivery. More common are clients who are permanently disabled and/or elderly and cannot come to the Pantry. Then there's the recent addition of a single mother, juggling three different jobs, which include working during the regular Pantry hours. Doris and Peter arranged a separate trip in the evening so our new client could receive food.

I Volunteer Spotlight: Upstairs/Downstairs

Early Tuesday morning on the week of a Food Pantry distribution, two large trucks arrive from our distributors loaded with thousands of pounds of food. That's when our truck-shift volunteers swing into action. The upstairs crew unloads huge pallets with cartons of canned goods, eggs, fresh produce and other items and place the boxes on a ramp leading down to our main pantry area. The downstairs crew quickly grabs the boxes flying down the ramp, loads them on dollies and positions the food strategically for the afternoon packing shift. Two truck-shift volunteers share their experiences working at the Food Pantry. Bruce Meighan (upstairs) is a retired software engineer who has lived in the community most of his life. He serves as lay leader and trustee of the Mamaroneck United Methodist Church. Julie Konvisser (downstairs) has lived in Larchmont for 9 years with her husband and two daughters, students at the Hommocks Middle School and Murray Avenue School. She is an active volunteer, stay-at-home parent, and part-time consultant to foundations and nonprofit organizations.

How did you first hear about the Food Pantry?  
Bruce Meighan

Bruce: I heard about the Pantry from my former pastor, Bill Shillady, who is one of its founders.
Julie: From other organizations conducting food drives for the Pantry.

Why did you decide to volunteer?
B: Since my retirement, I was looking for a way to become involved and more connected to the community. I was also encouraged by Carol Cauley, a past president of the Pantry and fellow member of my church.
J: I was eager to diversify my volunteer commitments outside of the schools, where I primarily had devoted my volunteer time, and I thought about what issues were important to me. No person should be hungry in our community. I decided to volunteer to do what I could to help address this issue.

How long have you been a volunteer at the Pantry?
B: I began my volunteering in 2007, just after the floods in Mamaroneck.
J: This is my second year.

Besides the truck shift, what else have you done at the Pantry?
B: At different times I have helped with all parts of the operation, from packing grocery bags to helping distribute to our clients. I also work extensively with our annual Thanksgiving food drive.  
Julie Konvisser
J:  My family has helped with the Thanksgiving food drive at Stop & Shop. In addition, I have helped to collect and sort food from other drives. We also provide financial contributions to support the Pantry.

What do you find most surprising or unexpected about the Pantry?
B: Most amazing is just how many hard-working volunteers it takes to pull this off twice a month. Their dedication and commitment is inspiring.
J: The Pantry does an extraordinary job providing food items that make holiday meals in November and December special for its clients.

What' do you like best about working at the Pantry?
B: The huge number of clients we help each distribution and the gratitude they express to us.
J: The downstairs crew has a wonderful camaraderie, and when I see the room filled with fresh fruits and vegetables, canned goods, cereal, bread, etc., it is a great feeling knowing that I have contributed to reducing hunger for families in our community.

I Who Are Our Clients? 

The Food Pantry's clients represent a very diverse mix of households. They are married couples, many with children, single parents, adults living alone, and retirees. They are ethnically diverse: Latino, African-American, Asian, and Caucasian. Quite a few come from Central and South America. What they all have in common are the economic hardships they face. They are employed with low wages, unemployed, living on Social Security, Social Security disability, or public assistance. After paying rent, utilities and medical bills, they don't have enough money every month to buy food. Here are profiles of a few of our clients. (The names have been changed to respect their privacy.)

83-Year-Old Retiree
After working all of her adult life, Barbara retired at 65, having raised her three sons, along with her sister's son. She is originally from North Carolina and moved to Mamaroneck 60 years ago with her mother. An African-American, Barbara lives alone at the Towers, an apartment building in Mamaroneck. She receives food from the Pantry via the home-delivery program. "I am very grateful for having this help", she says. "It is a real blessing".   

Guatemalan Family of Five
Francisco and his wife, both 35, moved to Mamaroneck 11 years ago to join nieces and nephews already living here. They have two young children, and a cousin also lives with them. Francisco describes living in Mamaroneck as "tranquilo"--peaceful. Francisco started coming to the Food Pantry after he lost his rug-cleaning job 4 years ago. "It was a terrible hardship" he says. Now employed again for the past year, the family still relies on the Pantry to get by. Francisco says the Pantry is a huge help for those in need. He is extremely appreciative.

Single Man
Peter, a 50-year-old Caucasian resident of Mamaroneck, has been coming to the Pantry since 2006. Unable to work because of a serious back injury, Peter is awaiting approval for disability insurance. Originally from New Rochelle, he's been living alone in the village for 17 years. Along with the support he relies on from the Pantry, Peter receives food stamps. Peter is a "client volunteer," one of a number of people who receive food from the Pantry and also help out in various capacities to pack and distribute food. He thinks the Pantry is very important to a lot of people in the community and likes the idea of being able to "give back."

El Salvadorian Family of Five
Delmi, a house cleaner, has been living in Mamaroneck for 10 years. She has three children ranging in age from 8 to 22 years. Delmi first heard about the Food Pantry three years ago through the Hispanic Resource Center, now called the Community Resource Center. Along with the support she is grateful to receive from the Pantry, she says the Center is "a great place" where she is currently attending English classes. Delmi likes living in Mamaroneck, finding it "quiet." She says she feels very safe walking around the village.

How You Can Help 

To donate or volunteer, visit us on the web at:
www.LMFoodPantry.org 
 
To sponsor a food drive, contact Sondra Levy at:
FoodDrive@LMFoodPantry.org


Specific items are always needed. This spring, our most urgent
needs are cereal and shelf-stable milk. Visit our website
for more information on how to donate these items.
 
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