Community coming together helping families in need
The Food Pantry at St. Mary’s Mohegan Lake is an interfaith community based not for profit service organization staffed by volunteers. Our mission is to provide supplemental food to families or individuals who live in the Mohegan Lake and greater Yorktown – Cortlandt area. We seek to provide nutritional, health and referral information to facilitate our patrons in moving beyond the need for emergency food.
Last Saturday morning, computer in hand, I arrived at the pantry to begin distribution. Standing at the table was a young man of seven accompanied by his parents. In the young man's hands was a coffee container. John, one of the pantry's core volunteers, introduced the family. They had been former neighbors of John's. Well to my surprise, Craig Caravello was here to donate money to the pantry. Craig had helped a friend collect money in the neighborhood for his local football league. Craig had learned at his religious instructions class how important it was to help those in need where ever you may find them. Craig, on his own, put two and two together and decided to collect funds for the "poor". Craig and two friends brought out two orange cones and placed them in their cul-de-sac and began stopping cars, asking for contributions. Craig's mom looked out the window and saw the boys, wondering what were they doing? She went out and discovered that in their cupped hands they had already collected change. Craig's mom was amazed. She supported their efforts, brought them inside to make a poster and gathered a collection can. She then accompanied them outside and stayed with them as they continued to complete the task they had set before them. Craig and friends collected $70. Now where to donate? Mrs. Caravello recognized John in a picture from the pantry website. Here's the place. Giving help to those in our community. So that is how I got to meet this amazing young man last Saturday morning.
I began volunteering at the Food Pantry @ St. Marys in October of 2010. I was required to perform 240 hours of community service due to a very poor decision on my part resulting in a DWI. It was a very difficult and pivotal time in my life, I needed to fulfill the court requirement but was also hoping to make that requirement a meaningful contribution. I went to the food pantry to see if they needed any help and was welcomed by all without judgment. I quickly saw the kindness and genuine concern each volunteer showed the clients that came through their doors. I was touched and grateful to be a part of it. When my community service requirement was complete I knew without a doubt that I would continue my service there. I feel like I belong to a small family within a large community that is always welcoming and never judging. They were there at a difficult time in my life and now I feel like I can pay it forward. The work done at the food pantry is nothing short of amazing and this community is blessed to have them there.
Friends and neighbors,
We the participating veterans in and around Westchester, Cortlandt, and Montrose would like to take this time to thank our food pantry for giving us their support and kind words that mean so much to so many. Your selection of food is outstanding and really helps us help ourselves in many ways. I can’t say enough about the volunteers, the boy scouts (formerly one myself, troop 531) and great staff are the best. I look forward to seeing their kind and smiling faces every week, often the best day of my (our) week as these are truly trying times. I have even made some new friends and making friends is hard for this veteran. You guys deserve a medal and the world’s biggest hug and kiss. You are a vital service to our community and I pray will always be there for us. Without getting to mushy, I’ll end this brief letter by saying again and again thank you!!!!!!!
God Bless You All
I was introduced to the food pantry by my mother three years ago when I needed community service hours for my Confirmation. At first I was apprehensive because I didn’t know what to expect but what I thought was going to be a few hours of my time ended up being a family that I can’t wait to see every weekend. Normally when volunteering at a place you feel that you’re standing on the sidelines but when I help here I always feel needed no matter what the task. Also I have never been in an environment that makes me feel so appreciated for just 2 1/2 hours of my time on a Saturday morning. Volunteering at the food pantry gave me an opportunity to see first-hand how wonderful it can be when a community comes together to help its neighbors. No one in our community should go hungry when so many of us have even just a little extra to spare. Our elderly, veterans and children are so vulnerable during this difficult economic downturn and I am so thankful that I can be a part of helping them. I see every week the difference even the smallest contribution can make to a family in need and for that insight I am truly grateful to the pantry because it will forever change how I see things.
ST MARY'S--no ordinary food pantry
Words cannot express what St. Mary's means to me and my family. Being a volunteer and a patron, I see both sides. I love helping out and I am proud of all the hard work all the volunteers put in every week so people who are struggling can have food. I have been helping out at the pantry for 13 years and I’m very proud to be part of this great mission. My 2 older daughters, who are now teenagers started out playing in the nursery and now volunteer at the pantry. I am very proud and it is wonderful to see them give back and important for them to see how many needy families depend on St. Mary's. Through the years I have made good friends and when I became pregnant again, to my surprise, the volunteers where there for me. They gave me a baby Shower, which saved our lives once again. Without them and Mother Clair I would have had nothing! Now after tragedy hit my family, again St. Mary's came through for us. They have been there with food, money, and support. I cannot express the gratitude I have for them.
St Mary's is not just a food pantry for those in need it is a beacon of hope! To me it has become our family.