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The Impact on the Food Pantry

In March 2020, Westchester County began to experience its first wave of coronavirus infections. With the region in lockdown, the demand for food assistance spiked rapidly. Prior to the start of the pandemic, the pantry was serving an average of 60 families, which included 80 children. Due to the pandemic, our numbers have increased significantly. We now serve an average of 215 families, which includes 360 children, and 850 people in total.

Our challenges are compounded not only by the reduction in available volunteers, but also by the limitations of our physical space. The dramatic increase in the number of bags that need to be packed means that every available inch needs to be used, including administrative spaces in the parish. Because our food bank partner has advised us to expect the demand to remain high for at least two years, the pantry is currently in the process of adding more storage capacity on the church grounds.

For the safety of our volunteers and clients, the pantry has also adopted social distancing guidelines to be used during bagging and on distribution day, which are as follows.

Distribution and Bagging Procedures During the Pandemic

The highest priority is to employ social distancing, reducing the amount of exposure between people as much as possible.

  • All volunteers and clients are encouraged to wear masks at all times during bagging or distribution. Masks are required for anyone who is not fully vaccinated.

  • At least six feet of distance between people will be maintained whenever possible.

  • There will be no in-person registration or re-registration.

  • There are two ways of food distribution that will be done simultaneously: the “drive-through” procedure for those with cars/vehicles, and forming lines at the parking lot on N. Mortimer for those who do not have cars.

  • For the drive-through procedure: Clients with cars are asked to stay in their cars and place laminated ID cards (provided by the pantry) in the passenger window.  If the client doesn’t have their number, they can give their name. 

  • Clients will remain in their cars with the windows up. They will open their trunks so volunteers can load the bags of food.

  • Trunks must have enough empty space for the bags of food to fit. Please make space in your trunk before arriving at the food pantry.

  • Volunteers will NOT enter clients' cars to load bags of food on the passenger seats.

  • Clients without cars will line up in the parking lot across the street so there is social distancing. 

  • The Elmsford police will provide assistance with traffic control and keeping the cars in line.

  • No used clothing or toys will be distributed during this time.

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