HG Realtor Foundation Volunteers Practice COVID Precautions; Offer Assistance to Food Bank of the Hudson Valley

Mary Prenon | May 2020

From left, Dexter Alston, Volunteer Coordinator, Food Bank of the Hudson Valley; Amanda Martinez, Dianne DeFalco and Guy Cusumano, Better Homes & Gardens, Goshen; Rae A. Fevola, Curasi Realty, Montgomery and David Rubin, William Raveis, Somers.

CORNWALL ON HUDSON—Decked out in masks and gloves, a group of Realtors from the Hudson Gateway Realtor Foundation (HGRF) recently volunteered their time to help pack groceries at the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley in Cornwall-on-Hudson.

The Food Bank of the Hudson Valley is a branch of the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York and a member of Feeding America, the national food bank network. Last year, the Hudson Valley branch provided more than 15 million pounds of food to 400-member agencies in Orange, Ulster, Dutchess, Rockland, Sullivan, and Putnam counties.

The COVID-19 pandemic had forced the Realtor Foundation to halt all of its volunteering efforts over the past few months. However, taking the proper safety precautions, volunteers ventured out again for the first time since early March.

“We were disappointed to have to cancel or postpone some of our planned volunteer events over the last couple of months. Especially in this time of great need, we want to help wherever we can,” said Gail Fattizzi, HGAR President and chair of the HGRF Program Committee, which plans the volunteer events. “It’s great to finally start to get back on track. We’ll hopefully be adding new dates to the calendar over the coming weeks, and look forward to new volunteers coming out to help where they can.”

Paul Stermer, director of the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley, notes that in the past eight weeks they have distributed 50% more food than over the same time period last year. “That’s enough food for nearly three million meals to low-income families, unemployed or underemployed workers, service workers, out-of-school children, homebound and immuno-compromised seniors, shelter residents and others facing food insecurity—some for the first time,” he said.

The increased demand for emergency food has in turn, fueled a greater need for financial support to cover unplanned expenses, revenue shortfalls, and volunteers to sort donated food. “With the help of our incredible community partners, though, the Food Bank can continue to provide food to families struggling to make ends meet during this difficult time,” added Stermer.

The agency also offers other programs such as the BackPack Program. This helps alleviate child hunger by discreetly providing hungry children with backpacks full of nutritious and easy-to-prepare food on Friday afternoons, so they have food to eat throughout the weekend.

The Food Bank of the Hudson Valley receives several hundred thousand pounds of donated food and non-food items each week from the food industry. It also welcomes both food and financial donations. For more information, please visit. www.foodbankofthehudsonavalley.org

Mary Prenon
HGAR, Director of Communications