The Pantry has made a difference in the lives of our neighbors for over 25 years.
The Pantry opened its doors in May of 1991. On day one, eight clients came by for food.
The Pantry grew rapidly, as demand continued to increase. Within a year, the Pantry was serving 20 households a week. By the following year, that number had doubled. The Board quickly realized they could not rely solely on congregations’ donation baskets to meet the need. In 1992, the Pantry held its first food drives outside of supermarkets, and also began receiving bulk food from Food Patch, the precursor to the Food Bank for Westchester. For every $1 donated, we can purchase $4 worth of food from the Food Bank for Westchester.
The Pantry partnered with schools and the Boy and Girl Scouts for more food drives. In 1993, the Bedford Teachers Association began an annual food drive that would benefit the Pantry for decades to come. Traditions of special holiday distributions were also established. Purchasing refrigerators and freezers allowed the introduction of fresh and perishable foods. More congregations joined the interfaith effort. In 2008, the Pantry moved to its current home at the United Methodist Church of Mount Kisco.
While the Pantry saw continuing growth in client numbers, the most dramatic increase came after the recession began. From 2008 to 2009, the number of clients served jumped 36%; the following year it increased another 39%.
The Pantry entered into more partnerships with local businesses, schools and community groups. In 2010, Panera Bread began making weekly donations of fresh baked goods. In 2012, a partnership with Hilltop Hanover Farms brought additional fresh produce.
By 2013, the Pantry began a special focus on outreach to local seniors. Regular, weekly home-delivery program to homebound clients, which had been introduced two years earlier, was expanded. Sponsorship of a “mini-pantry” at the Fox Senior Center was launched. At the same time, the Pantry intensified its emphasis on healthy eating.
In 2014, in collaboration with Cornell University Cooperative Extension, the Pantry launched an onsite, bi-lingual, comprehensive 8-week nutrition workshop, “Eat Smart New York.” A commitment was made to expand the availability of fresh produce even further.