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Dobbs Ferry Church Fights Hunger Year Round

South Presbyterian Church Senior Minister Joe Gilmore stands in front of his church's popular food pantry.
South Presbyterian Church Senior Minister Joe Gilmore stands in front of his church's popular food pantry. Photo Credit: Michael Nocella

DOBBS FERRY, N.Y. – The holiday season is a time of year in which many people turn their appetite up a notch. Those who rely on the  food pantry at the South Presbyterian Church in Dobbs Ferry are no different.

But, Senior Minister Joe Gilmore tries to treat every week like the holiday season.

“Hunger does not have a schedule," he said. "We’re always looking to have as much food on deck as possible, no matter what time of year it is.”

The church began its pantry more than a year ago, when Gilmore said there was a “buzz” about people in the community who were hungry. What started out as a small operation to collect food for those in need soon turned into a miniature supermarket.

Demand grew so much that there is now a sign attached to the pantry, which reads, “Many people use this pantry. Please take only what you need. And please come back.” It is written in English and Spanish.

“We were astonished by the relentlessness of the lines who showed up for food,” said Gilmore. “We have some mothers who come in here to shop for a whole family.”

Volunteers for the church eventually had to build additional shelf space for the pantry, which is now constantly stocked with dry goods, canned goods, pasta, cooking oils, flour and personal--care items such as toilet paper.

“Toilet paper might be our most popular item,” said Gilmore. “We can never have enough of anything, but toilet paper is certainly a hot item.”

The South Presbyterian Church food pantry’s hours are from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day. The church is always looking for more donations.

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