Farm to Food Pantry Collaborative

Gleaning for local food pantries at Whirligig Farm, 2014
Gleaning for local food pantries at Whirligig Farm, 2014
39 John St.
Kingston, NY 12401
(845) 331-7080 ext 157

Staff: 3 part-time

Program Director: Elizabeth McLendon

Program Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00am-4:00pm

PRIMARY FUNCTIONS: In collaboration with the Rondout Valley Growers Association, UlsterCorps and the Bruderhof Community, the program addresses food insecurity by engaging local farmers to donate locally grown produce and training volunteers to glean, process and distribute nutritious food to the network food pantries, feeding programs and shelters in Ulster and surrounding counties.

ANCILLARY SERVICES: The collaborative increases the nutritious food available to local food pantries throughout the County; expands the availability of nutritious meals for children during the summer; increases the capacity for storage and distribution, both centrally and for individual pantries; decreases the amount of food discarded or wasted; develops new relationships which make additional food available; distributes food through the Feeding America program; informs the community of the availability of food resources by maintaining a current map of food pantries throughout the county in English and Spanish. and improves communication and coordination between countywide and local providers.

Interactive Google Map of Ulster County Food Pantries with hours. Developed by UlsterCorps  & Family of Woodstock, 2016.
Interactive Google Map of Ulster County Food Pantries with hours. Developed by UlsterCorps & Family of Woodstock, 2016.
RECENT ACCOMPLISHMENTS:
The collaborative has been working to reduce, and ultimately eliminate, food insecurity in Ulster County. Starting in 2009, the group has gleaned, collected and distributed over 471,000 pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to soup kitchens and food pantries in the county. In 2016 the collaborative distributed 68,000 pounds of fresh produce donated by 17 different farms to 30 different food pantries and feeding programs throughout the county. In 2017 the collaborative collected over 81,000 lbs of produce donated by 25 local farms and distributed it to 34 food pantries, shelters, schools and soup kitchens in the Hudson Valley. In 2016 the collaborative also processed 2,000 quarts of produce into items such as tomato sauce, soup, apple sauce, and pumpkin pie, which were distributed throughout the winter months to the network of pantries and feeding programs. In 2017, the collaborative processed another 3,400 quarts of produce for winter distribution, and made another 150 pumpkin and blueberry pies. A central component of the program is the recruiting, training and coordinating volunteers. The remarkable generosity of our local farmers and the strong support we have received from volunteers leads us to believe that collectively we can be successful in addressing food insecurity in our community.

In 2015, the collaborative started an initiative to create five food hubs which would each include expanded freezer and cooler capacity to improve food storage and significantly decrease waste. The hubs are being located in key locations throughout the county, each supporting four to five food pantries from their surrounding communities. These hubs will not only decrease waste and improve food quality, but will significantly lower transportation costs and thereby operating costs for the local pantries. To date, the collaborative has completed hubs in Kingston, Ellenville and Rosendale and has almost completed the hub in New Paltz. A fifth is also being planned for Woodstock to serve the Saugerties to Shandaken area.

In addition to the collaborative’s efforts described above, the agencies supporting the collaborative also provided assistance and volunteers to help Family achieve other significant food security goals, including:

Under the direction of Family of Ellenville, the agency received and distributed 106,200 pounds of food from the Walmart facility in Kerhonkson as part of the Feeding America program to food pantries, soup kitchens, churches and shelters throughout the county.

The agency, through its Kingston Cares program, sponsored the NYS Education Department’s Summer Food Service Program, which provided breakfast and lunches to local youth serving agencies. In summer 2016, the program served 3,455 breakfasts and 3,401 lunches to over 250 children. In summer 2017, the program served 5,175 breakfasts and 3,772 lunches, for a total of 8,947 meals to over 350 children. In addition, in an effort to address hunger issues among Kingston youth during the school year, the agency expanded its sponsorship of the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) by adding an additional sites at the Hodge and Rondout Centers, shifting from serving an after school snack to a full dinner. In 2017, the after school programs served 1,362 snacks and 3,714 suppers through October 2017.

Finally, since 1975, the agency’s walk-in centers have addressed the needs of their local communities by sponsoring substantial food pantries. Each pantry is available all of the time that the facility is open to the community. In addition to these pantries, Family’s domestic violence and family shelters maintain food pantries to serve their current and former clients. In 2016, the pantries collectively distributed meals to 13,317 individuals.

RECENT DEVELOPMENTS
In 2016 the program was awarded a Volunteer General Fund grant from the NYS Office of Children and Family Services to expand the number and use of volunteers to address the food insecurity issue in both Ulster and Greene counties. As a result, the program has been expanding its food security efforts into Greene County in 2017. In 2017, we also received a 5 year HPNAP Grant as part of a regional collaborative led by Cornell Cooperative Extension of Orange County to support gleaning efforts throughout the Hudson Valley region.

For more information or to volunteer to be a part of our gleaning and processing team, contact Beth at (845) 331-7080 x157 or email volunteers@fowinc.org

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