Our Food Pantry is helping 150% more people this year. Photo © Amy Scott
Those random acts of kindness . . .
Have you ever been graced by the kindness of strangers? During my final year of grad school, I was a struggling single parent. Five days a week, in every weather, I put my lovely 3-year-old girl in her stroller and pushed her 13 blocks north to Harlem, where she attended a fantastic daycare center for low-income families. After kissing her goodbye, I jogged home -- fast -- through Riverside Park so I could work on my thesis for a few hours before racing off to one of two part-time jobs. I was deep in debt with no safety net, and desperately frightened about the future.

The bright spot of my day was collecting my girl and listening to her chatter about all the amazing things she was thinking as we shopped for dinner at Manny's Bodega. I'd discovered that this tiny grocery store had the best prices in our neighborhood, so we started going there every afternoon. The friendly fellow at the cash register always waved as we headed to our first stop, the day-old baked goods bin, where my girl got to choose one slightly stale bagel or bun for 50 cents. After that, I'd see what I had left in my wallet and shop accordingly for fruits and vegetables, rice or pasta. Sometimes our little basket didn't have much in it, but we managed to get by.

One day, after we'd been visiting the bodega for about a month, my girl was lingering over those day-old baked goods when I realized the friendly fellow at the cash register had joined us. He smiled at my girl and held out a paper plate. There was a fresh, hot bun dusted with confectioner's sugar on it. "Pan de mallorca," he said. "You try?" My heart sank, but before I could say, "Sorry, we can't," my girl already had half of it in her mouth. "Mmm, that's good!" she giggled, licking her fingers. I smiled at her, and I smiled at the friendly fellow, too, but I had the most terrible, tight feeling in my chest as I opened my wallet and said, "How much, please?"

The gentleman shook his finger and wagged his head fiercely."No, no, no!" Then he smiled. "My treat!" he said. "I have something for Mama, too. Come." We followed him to the counter. He picked up a box and opened the top flaps. Inside, I saw a random assortment of fruits and vegetables. He picked out an apple and showed me a little bruise. "Still good!" he said. "But nobody will buy!" He clicked his tongue, put the apple back in the box, and looked at me. "Every Friday, you come. I give."

I protested. I couldn't possibly, we were fine, really -- but he cut me off and tapped his chest. "Manny," he said, and stuck out his hand. I took it. Tears spilled down my cheeks. How can I explain? This random act of kindness in a tiny bodega forever changed me. I needed help. And help was given, freely, generously, by a stranger who just wanted to do a little good that day. To make the world a little better.

On Saturday morning, a team of church members and volunteers will report as usual to our Philipstown Food Pantry mission to provide help to the growing numbers of food insecure people in our community. On Saturday night, three church members will drive to Manhattan to take critical supplies to people experiencing homelessness. This little Midnight Run caravan of three cars will be filled with nutritious food and coats and blankets. The Food Pantry and Midnight Run are only possible because our members and our neighbors volunteer and donate. Their help is given freely and generously -- to do a little good for strangers, and to make the world a little better.

This week, let's think about times when we've been graced by kindness, and if we can, let's pay that kindness forward to others. Remember we are still together, even when we're apart. And the best news is that all of us are loved, all the time.

-- MZ Smith, Community News editor
The economic crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic will cause homelessness in NYC and across the U.S. to increase by 45%, according to a new study released by Columbia University. This means that over 800,000 Americans could be living on the streets in 2020-2021.

Thank you for supporting our Midnight Run outreach program. Together, we're taking food and critical supplies directly to people who are in the greatest need.
THANK YOU! We're ready to make our Midnight Run this Saturday, Oct. 31 to aid the homeless in NYC. We send our heartfelt gratitude to FPCP members, friends, and neighbors who are supplying food for this trip, including: Rafael Holguin, Gregg Matthews, Jeff Silverlinck, Doreen Bevilacqua, Karen Kapoor, Ann McBride-Alayon, Sara Dulaney, Ezra Clementson, and Julia Sniffen.

Thanks to FPCP's Ron Sopyla for organizing and driving, and to his fellow drivers Andy Larivee and Susan Jordan. (Susan is also donating her famous Friendship Bread!) We're also grateful to Palisades Presbyterian for toiletry kits, and to St. Philip's Church in the Highlands for coats and sleeping bags!

A reminder to our food donors: Drop off is this Friday, Oct. 30, from 11:30am - 12:30pm at our church at 10 Academy Street, Cold Spring. OR: Please email Ron at rsopyla@verizon.net to make other arrangements. Thanks again!
Join our Sunday, Nov. 1 worship service via ZOOM!

This Sunday is All Saints Day, a.k.a. the post-Halloween recovery day, so our worship service this Sunday will be online via Zoom. Wear your costumes, OR your pajamas!

We welcome Rev. Rachel Thompson to our virtual pulpit this Sunday. Tom McCoy, our Director of Music, will be at the piano. Use the links at the right, and join us!

For general info about online services, including a link to download Zoom, click here.
To receive a link & materials for our online service this Sunday: Email us at: 1presbyterian@gmail.com.

To get weekly info all activities & programs: Fill out the contact form at: www.presbychurchcoldspring.org.
Sharing our Favorite Memories of Rose Champlin (1931-2020)
This week, we said our farewells to Rose Champlin, beloved member of our congregation for 60+ years.
Rose's smiling face always warmed our hearts when we all gathered at church for Sunday services. Here she is at the entrance to our sanctuary, in her stylish purple coat, with her friends Janet Rust (left) and Lynn Brown (right).

Rev. Rachel Thompson led a lovely memorial service for Rose at the Cold Spring Cemetery on Oct. 28. Rose, an alto in our choir, was honored musically by Tom McCoy, Carolyn Llewellyn, and Lynn Brown. Our hearts go out to Rose's daughters Dale and Karen, to her family, and her many friends.
FPCP members and friends shared some favorite memories of Rose, which you can enjoy by clicking the photo above. If you would like to read Rose's obituary in the local newspaper, The Highlands Current, click right here.
Tips from our Green Team: Let's all tread lightly and "Leave No Trace"

We are fortunate to live in such a beautiful landscape, with parks and trails and recreation areas all around us. Fall is a great time to hike, and due to the pandemic, more and more people are visiting our natural spaces -- to decompress and relieve stress, to exercise and breathe fresh air, to find peace and quiet and a little solitude.

Our friends at the National Park Service and NYS Parks are reminding us that it’s vitally important to "leave no trace" -- meaning, we should leave natural spaces just as we found them. By following this simple rule, we can all help our unique and precious ecosystems to survive and thrive for future generations to enjoy. And remember, we share this land with plants and animals, so let's respect all living things! Here are some ideas for practicing the “Leave No Trace” philosophy:

Don't wander off. Always stay on marked, established hiking trails, to avoid unintentionally harming any surrounding plants, creatures, or wildlife habitat.

Carrying in? Carry out! Please carry all waste with you and dispose of it properly. It's important not to dump any foods (including perishables that we might consider harmless, like apple cores and banana peels). Don't dump liquids, other than water.

Rinse and repeat. Thoroughly rinse your boots, recreational gear, and car tires to prevent the spread of invasive species. Learn more about this right here:

Campsites are found, not made. Don't alter the landscape to make a "better" campsite! Camp 200+ feet away from lakes and streams to protect wetland habitats.

Observe wildlife from a distance. Help keep wildlife safe, healthy and wild. Don't approach or feed animals. Learn why it's important to give creatures their space: https://www.aphis.usda.gov/aphis/ourfocus/wildlifedamage/sa_program_overview/ct_dontfeedwildlife

Leave plants be. Never pull up or chop down plants. If you spot an area that's chock-a-clock with invasive species, the best plan is to report it to a park ranger or other park authorities -- the folks who are in charge of the natural space you are in.

Pay attention to fire danger signs. We all need to find alternatives to campfires when the fire risk level is high. Nearly 9 out of 10 wildfires are caused by humans. Smokey the Bear is still our go-to for campfire safety guidelines! You can read Smokey's advice here: https://smokeybear.com/en/smokey-forkids/campfire-rules
Our Bulletin Board
Join FPCP's fun and fabulous Book Club! Our Book Club is reading the novel Forever by Pete Hamill. This bestseller is an epic and magical tale about a man who arrives in New York in 1740 and remains ... forever. Cormac O'Connor will be immortal as long as he never leaves Manhattan. Through his eyes, we watch New York City grow from a tiny settlement in the wilderness to today's thriving metropolis. We'll discuss Forever on Tuesday, Nov. 17. For more info, email Bev Taylor here.
Kids: Explore big ideas! Sunday School takes place at home each week. Carolyn, our Youth Ed leader, sends families a weekly email with stories, activities, and ideas. Last week, we prepared for Halloween by reading the "Pumpkin Patch Parable," about a farmer who picks a pumpkin, carves a friendly smiling face, and puts a light inside to welcome all. We talked about how we are called to be lights in the world, like the friendly jack-o-lantern. Join our e-list! Email Carolyn here.
Please help if you can. During this health and economic crisis, we are grateful that we can serve neighbors in need through our critical mission programs like the Food Pantry and Midnight Run. If you feel called to support this outreach, we warmly welcome any and all contributions. If you are a member of our church family and can maintain your giving at this time, we humbly thank you.
To make an online donation, click the image at the left, or right here. Bless you!
Telephone: (845)-265-3220 / Email: 1presbyterian@gmail.com www.presbychurchcoldspring.org