Representatives of Rockland Food Pantries spoke in union Wednesday about the increased need they see. From Nyack to Spring Valley and Nanuet to Stony Point, more people rely on food pantries for food, diapers, clothing, furniture, school supplies and moral support. They told the Rockland Community Foundation’s Board of Directors that their collaborative donation with Inserra Supermarkets of $5,000 of grocery gift cards would go toward helping single mothers, families, longtime residents and recent immigrants.
People to People’s Executive Director Diane Serratore got tearful when she said she grew up in the county and now sees people she grew up with who are struggling and coming in for food. The number of people seeking assistance with food rose from 500 in 2008 to 1,200 this year.
Serratore said it is critical to make sure the younger generation is helped.
“Again a key focus for us is making sure kids get fed,” she said.
Kimela Francois of Open Bible Church Food Pantry in Stony Point said the community is not really aware of how many homeless people there actually are. She said some of them are ashamed to continue to ask for food. She said young mothers are also seeking help.
Nathan Mungin III from the Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center Inc., Spring Valley spoke about the 300 families representing about 1,000 individuals who come in for food, clothing and furniture. He said the center sees many of the working poor, who are trying to provide for themselves but do not earn enough money and need assistance.
“Some of the people that come to us are working,” he said. “They work two, three jobs but they are part-time jobs.”
“It’s not only a food donation that we are giving but our prayers,” said Juan Alvarado of Charismatic Church Outreach in Haverstraw
The recipients of the donation program, which is now in its sixth year, were:
- Catholic Community Services of Rockland, Haverstraw
- Charismatic Church Outreach, Haverstraw
- Christ Church of Ramapo Feeding Ministries, Suffern
- Nyack Food Program, Nyack
- Martin Luther King Multi-Purpose Center Inc., Spring Valley
- Open Bible Church Food Pantry, Stony Point
- People to People, Nanuet
- Rockland Interfaith Breakfast Program, Spring Valley
- St. Ann's Food Cupboard, Nyack
- Sinai 7th Day Adventist Church, Spring Valley
Each food pantry received a $500 Shop Rite gift card.
Carolyn Giles spoke about the Rockland Interfaith Breakfast in Spring Valley feeds about 100 people breakfast Monday through Friday and provides them with a bag lunch.
“The Shop Rite gift cards were just a wonderful addition to our budget last year because often we run out of items that I can’t get from the food bank where the majority of our food comes from or from Restaurant Depot,” said Giles. “So the food cards have been a wonderful help to us this year.”
Foundation President Patrick Byrne said, “On behalf of the Rockland Community Foundation, our sincere thanks for all of the wonderful things you do for the people of the Rockland County area.”
The Rockland Community Foundation is committed to improving the quality of life for all people in Rockland County by increasing charitable giving. Its mission is to connect people and businesses with the causes that matter most to them through the creation of funds, across a wide range of interests, that donors create and the Foundation stewards.