When we were at the Water Street Market store Candy Candy the other day, my kids were so excited to see another duck bank, “It’s just like ours. They’re collecting money for Family, too!” And of course they were inspired to decorate ours after seeing the scarf on the one in the shop. Ward’s idea of the duck banks created a rich web of support for Family: Our family’s involvement means that our kids are exposed to the ease and delight of charitable giving in a routine, daily way; and the people who helped distribute them for Ward broadened the reach into businesses, where individual customers can donate the tiniest something if they wish and still make a difference as a collective whole.
I checked in with Family of New Paltz about its current needs and additional ways for local families to help. They are under construction so they’re only accepting food donations right now, but they hope to accept clothing donations by the end of August. I am concerned, with school starting soon, there will be a need for children’s clothing and school supplies. If a student is planning on purchasing a new backpack, please consider donating your old one to Family – of course, only of it is in good shape. Any groups that would like to hold a food drive at one of the local food markets would also be a great help to Family.
Family of New Paltz is located at 51 North Chestnut Street in New Paltz. For more information, call (845) 255-8801 or visit www.familyofwoodstockinc.org.
Queens Galley needs volunteers
“Food insecurity” is the current term to describe the situation of not knowing where one’s next meal is coming from. Many of us here in the Hudson Valley have been on both sides of food insecurity: receiving food and meals from area food pantries and soup kitchens, and donating or volunteering there. That’s why I think it’s so important to connect with these organizations, because we are one community.
I volunteered at the Queens Galley soup kitchen recently, along with a few other Mom friends. My bustling shift lasted around three hours, and my tasks consisted of preparing the dining tables for dinner; serving food to the guests restaurant-style, including soup, salad, entrée and dessert courses; bussing the tables; and prepping for the breakfast shift. The homemade food is prepared with respect and dignity by a chef using ingredients that are donated from individuals, farms and businesses.
The culture here is very comfortable and one of hosting guests, as if in your own home: no disparaging ladles declaring a We/They dynamic. Check out this dinner menu from Monday, August 5: Soup: Minestrone; Salad: Caesar; Entrée: Pear-glazed pork chops with asiago mushroom sauce. All are welcome to come eat; there is no burden of proof of need. Volunteers and food donations are always appreciated, and speaking of giving as a habit: For $25 per month (“less than 82 cents a day!”), the Queens Galley can provide supplies for children and their families to have access to wholesome food year-round. And by selecting the recurring monthly option, your donation can be automatic, which means that you don’t have to try to manage one more thing to remember, and Queens Galley can count on that help to serve our community’s increasing need, which has been especially intense this summer. I look forward to another volunteer shift with my kids.
The Queens Galley is located at 254 Washington Avenue in Kingston. For more information, call (845) 338-3468 or visit https://thequeensgalley.org.
Dutchess Outreach needs food donations
I learned a lot from our family’s recent visit to Dutchess Outreach with our local homeschool Girl Scout group. Among other services, Dutchess Outreach provides three days’ worth of food for a family, which they can replenish every 30 days. It’s meant to reduce the gap between paychecks or assistance programs, and the demand continues to grow. Our group’s cartload of food was enthusiastically welcomed as it was moved to the pantry shelves, which are constantly drawn from and cleared out. Dutchess Outreach also runs the Lunch Box, which offers free hot lunches, and when enough volunteers and food are available, the agency adds on dinners as well. Your group or organization could make it possible for some local residents to eat a meal they may otherwise miss, simply by preparing or serving food for the Lunch Box.
I asked Dutchess Outreach how local families could help. Rosemary Grabowska, front office coordinator, answers, “If you could mention that we do have fridge and freezer space to take frozen veggies, meats or bread, eggs, butter and fresh vegetables, that would be great! We rely heavily on non-perishable items, but when we get homegrown vegetables, our clients snap ‘em up. A good way to help is by making a regular donation, whether of food or money. Just $20 provides 17 meals at the pantry!” The group also accepts children’s seasonal clothing donations for its Clothes Closet program.
Dutchess Outreach is located at 29 North Hamilton Street in Poughkeepsie. For more information, call (845) 454-3792 or visit www.dutchessoutreach.org.
Domestic violence shelters need back-to-school supplies
Women are taking steps to leave domestic abuse situations and getting help to move forward. Very often their children come with them. As fellow Hudson Valley residents, we can help them during this unsettled time of uprootedness into Ulster County’s Washbourne House or Dutchess County’s Grace Smith House domestic violence shelters by providing for some of their material needs.
I asked Kathleen Moretti, director of the Washbourne House, about ways to help: “When you are shopping with your children, please remember the children who live in the shelter and pick up something for them.”
Here is the supply wish list for the Washbourne House Back-to-School Drive: pencils, pens (black, blue and red), large erasers, markers, crayons, colored pencils, highlighters, notebooks (single and multi-subject), book covers, index cards, Post-Its, rulers, calculators, pencil boxes and cases, scissors, hand sanitizer, glue sticks, two-pocket folders, one-, two- and three-inch binders, backpacks, lunch bags/boxes and water bottles.
Moretti adds, “Many of our families are also in need of new school clothes, socks, underwear and shoes. If you would like to mail us a gift card to Target or Old Navy, or a check to purchase these supplies, we appreciate your support. If you would rather do the shopping, contact me and I will send you a list of sizes for a child. Only new items please.”
For more information about the Washbourne House, contact Moretti at PO Box 3817, Kingston, NY 12402; call (845) 331-7080, extension 327; or visit www.familyofwoodstockinc.org. To learn more about the Grace Smith House, visit www.gracesmithhouse.org, or for help call their 24-hour emergency hotline at (845) 471-3033.
Erica Chase-Salerno can’t stop saying Tickety Bu. She and her husband Mike live in New Paltz with their two children: the inspirations behind hudsonvalleyparents.com. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.