NY State Senator Peter Harckham Holds Food Drive for Fred's Pantry
Fred’s Pantry was opened in response to the demand created by the great recession. CHHOP opened Fred’s Pantry to serve the community healthy, nutritious food. Until the Covid-19 pandemic, Fred’s operated as a choice food pantry which enabled clients to choose the food that is right for them and their families.
The Turning Point Program addresses the complex needs of individuals who have been chronically homeless. To address those needs, CHHOP started a permanent supportive housing program for chronically homeless adults with disabilities. Clients live in their own apartment and receive supportive case management services that enable them to live productive lives while maintaining permanent housing.
Jan Peek House Shelter is a Westchester County Department of Social Services-funded 24-hour, 365-days a year shelter for single adult men and women. They provide supportive case management services for clients to develop an independent living plan that focuses on obtaining housing and supportive services such as medical, behavioral, employment and educational. Jan Peek Drop-In services provides shelter, food and limited supportive services for homeless adult men and women, particularly during inclement weather. In 2019 they added robust case management services to assist their drop-in clients with accessing the housing and support services they need.
Health Care for Homeless Veterans was developed to assist the growing epidemic of homelessness among our nations’ veterans. To address the issue, CHHOP started this 90-180-day transitional housing program for VA eligible veterans. Working closely with the VA, they provide supportive case management services and linkage to VA medical and support services.
RISE (Rehousing in Supportive Environments) is a collaborative program focused on helping survivors of domestic violence and their families move forward from the trauma, isolation, and financial instability arising out of domestic violence. CHHOP partners with My Sisters' Place and Lifting Up Westchester to provide housing, case management, domestic violence counseling and support and specialized employment services.
With a board of 10 and a staff of 30, CHHOP has been doing outstanding work for over 30 years. But, like many nonprofits, the organization has had to face challenges and cope with the pandemic.
“The greatest challenge has been what nonprofits, businesses and households everywhere have had to face: The need to institute instantaneous change in how we operate,” said Executive Director, Cynthia Knox. “For CHHOP, that meant immediately instituting rigorous Covid-19 and social distancing protocols at Jan Peek House to protect clients and staff. There is no congregating in common areas of Jan Peek House, no congregate meals and staff are physically separated. We have limited the number of clients who can stay with us to ensure that we can maintain social distancing. We also had to make sure that staff had the tools to work remotely.”
At Fred’s Pantry, they had to pivot overnight from a weekly “choice” food pantry serving less than a hundred hungry people a week to a twice weekly “bag and go” pantry serving over 1,200 hungry people a week. They also operate two housing programs. Staff members who work with clients in those programs had to creatively address how they could safely stay connected to their clients to provide them with needed support and services.
Fortunately for CHHOP, early in the pandemic, the Westchester Community Foundation assisted them with a technology grant to ensure that staff could work remotely. CHHOP was able to purchase laptops, scanners and a software license for its finance department that enabled them to continue to operate efficiently even when staff was offsite.
When asked if they have any advice for other nonprofits based on their experience, Knox said: “Don’t be afraid to make necessary change. We live in unprecedented times that demand creativity and accountability. We may not always get it ‘right’ but we won’t know what can be until we try.”