Cortlandt Emergency Food Bank Seeks Cash Donations

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Maria Rykowski stands in the Cortlandt Emergency Food Bank. Photo Credit: Jessica Glenza

CROTON-ON-HUDSON, N.Y. — The Cortlandt Emergency Food Bank is asking for cash donations, saying more residents are using the food bank now than ever in the organization's 30-year existence.

“The community remains as generous as ever, but the amounts that we receive from grants have been declining over the past few years, as government cutbacks have repeatedly taken effect. That’s why we are now appealing for additional public support," said volunteer Jordy Bell, who has been with the food bank since its inception. "In the present circumstances, the Cortlandt Emergency Food Bank needs even more cash to pay for the supplies from the Food Bank for Westchester, the main source, and to buy supplementary items that FBW does not provide.”

The food bank is based in Asbury Church in Croton and is used monthyly by about 110 families from Croton, Cortlandt Manor, Montrose, Buchanan, Verplanck and Peekskill.

Clients receive a bag of staples, including cereal, rice, pasta, beans, fresh vegetables and usually frozen meat. About 130 turkeys were given out the Saturday before Thanksgiving. Although no one is turned away on a first visit, families must thereafter be recommended by a social worker, religious leader or doctor.

“We have been doing our best to keep up with the demand that started increasing in 2008,” said Maria Rykowski, a volunteer who manages the pantry's food inventory. “But in 2012, the demand increased over 30 percent when compared to last year. Although we're a small food pantry, we distribute more than 40,000 pounds of food per year. People always think of food for the needy during the holidays, but our clients, many of whom have small children, need to eat 365 days a year.”

Donations of any size are welcome. Monetary donations are helpful because the Food Bank for Westchester is able to purchase food at a far lower cost than consumers, volunteers said. Some items, such as cereals, are not commonly provided by the Food Bank for Westchester and are appreciated, volunteers said.

Checks can be mailed to Cortlandt Emergency Food Bank, 19 Old Post Road S., Croton-on-Hudson, NY 10520. All donations are tax-deductible.

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