Food pantry, hungry for donations, pulls out all the stops

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Frances Segan, president of the Kingsbridge Riverdale Marble Hill Food & Hunger Project, Inc., is doing everything she can to keep feeding the hungry. 

Faced with growing need and dwindling donations, KRMH’s food panty — which operates out of Church of the Mediator — was forced to reduce its distribution schedule from weekly to bi-weekly in January. 

After The Riverdale Press started covering the story, some big donations started pouring in from local donors and, after six weeks of bi-weekly service, KRMH returned to a weekly schedule on March 1. 

But it needs $2,000 per month to keep operating with that frequency. So Ms. Segan recently set out to get help from local restaurants by planning a restaurant weekend during which a percentage of profits would be given to KRMH. Each restaurant would be honored for participating.

But local eateries have also been strapped for cash and did not sign on. The combination of higher food costs due to higher gas prices and people spending less in general has hurt restaurant owners in much the same way it has hurt KRMH.  

So Ms. Segan revised her strategy and sent out 40 letters offering certificates to restaurants that make a donation. She plans to hold a celebration at the establishment that gives the most. 

Another fund-raising effort is being spearheaded by the Coalition of Riverdale/Kingsbridge Schools, or CORKS, a partnership of public and private schools in the area. At Ethical Culture Fieldston School, students are beginning a food drive and PS 24 is having a “dollar in a hat” fund raiser. An anonymous donor said he or she would match the funds raised by PS 24.

Community Board 8 is also stepping up to help.

Karen Pesce, chair of CB 8’s Aging Committee, initiated a food drive. The board will collect canned and dry goods at the next full board meeting on Tuesday, May 10 at Riverdale Temple, at 7:30 p.m.

“Often we find that people contribute food at Thanksgiving and Christmas ... but the need is continuous,” she said.

Ms. Segan said the pantry looks for a variety of food so it can provide a diverse array of grocery bags to families. She said the pantry needs healthy soups, healthy hot and cold cereal, healthy canned meats and rice.

The pantry is open to residents in 10463, 10471 and 10468 zip codes. Recipients should bring identification and, if they have them, food stamp cards. The KRMH Food Pantry is open from 9 to 11 a.m. every Tuesday at the Church of the Mediator, 260 West 231st St.

Monetary donations can be sent to KRMH Food & Hunger Project, Inc. P.O. Box 251, Riverdale Station, Bronx, N.Y. 10471.

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