CARMEL, N.Y. - With many food banks unable to function during the pandemic, the United Way of Westchester and Putnam, in conjunction with Community Cares and Putnam County, gave out more than 5,000 pounds of food through the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley to families affected by the coronavirus pandemic last Thursday (April 2) at a pop-up event.
In addition, volunteers delivered food to seniors and the immune-compromised throughout the county.
“It was fantastic,” said County Legislator Amy Sayegh, Mahopac resident and founder of Community Cares. “We had to shut down early because we ran out of food. We served about 800 families, including 165 seniors from the [county] Office of Senior Resources. Any meal we can provide without [seniors] leaving home is to their benefit.”
Sayegh collaborated with Faith Ann Butcher, chief impact officer of United Way, on the project. The two are both members of the Greater Mahopac/Carmel Chamber of Commerce and have worked together before.
“We have worked on a lot of things together,” Sayegh said. “For this, the Hudson Valley Food Bank contacted United Way, and they were working together.”
The Hudson Valley Food Bank hadn’t worked in Putnam before, so Sayegh came on board to help them coordinate with county officials.
“We worked on logistics to get it out to Putnam County residents,” she said. “I reached out through the county executive’s administration—started with the Department of Social Services and the Department of Senior Resources. There were so many conference calls, so much behind the scenes.
“The food itself came from Hudson Valley Food Bank,” she continued. “During the [coronavirus] outbreak, they said they wanted to expand to Putnam County. Faith took that on for them. There is a real need here. Some food pantries have closed down, so there is increased demand.”
Another pop-up food bank is being planned for some time in the near future at the same location, the Donald B. Smith campus at 100 Old Route 6 in Carmel. Keep an eye on the United Way’s Facebook page or check with the school district to find out when.
“The food bank will let us know,” Sayegh said. “They have to get their deliveries, and we are told [by county officials] that the same spot will work for the residents of Putnam County. They have to be the first priority.”