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Donate Food, Pick up Books!

Two venerable Croton organizations are making it easy to make a difference.

For the second year in a row the Croton Free Library will be collecting food during the month of February for the Cortlandt Emergency Food Bank, the Croton-based food pantry that distributes over 40,000 pounds of food a year to families in need throughout the Town of Cortlandt.

"Library patrons were very generous last year and we're grateful the library is doing this again," says Maria Rykowski, Director of Finance and Inventory for the Food Bank. "We're open just a few hours a week, so it's much more convenient for people to drop off their donations at the library, which is open every day."

"We distributed more food than ever in 2012 and we can really use additional food right now," she adds. "Most community donations come at the end of the year, during the holidays, but demand remains high year round."

The partnership was initiated last year by the Croton Free Library Association, as part of the library's 75th anniversary celebration. "We've been nurturing the minds of the community and we wanted to meet our neighbors’ physical needs as well," says Association President Robin Schwamb. "The food drive was so well received by the community—and so successful—that we've decided to make it an annual event."

Food items most in need are listed below, but any and all non-perishable donations are welcome. Drop them off at the library during regular business hours.

The Food Bank needs canned soup, cereal, oatmeal, rice, pasta, spaghetti sauce, canned vegetables, canned fruit, macaroni and cheese, canned beans, tuna fish, peanut butter and jelly, mayonnaise and any nutritious food that kids love!

Helping those in need
The Cortlandt Emergency Food Bank was founded in 1983 and is run by a volunteer board and more than 50 volunteers, out of a small room in the basement of Asbury Church at 19 Old Post Road South in Croton.

Every Saturday morning from 10 a.m. to noon they give 3 to 4 days worth of nutritionally balanced meals to families in need. The food bank serves the entire town of Cortlandt, which includes Croton, Montrose, Buchanan, Verplanck, Peekskill and Cortlandt Manor, in conjunction with other local pantries and soup kitchens.

Food comes primarily from the Food Bank for Westchester, Inc., a redistribution agency, but the organization also receives substantial donations from many local religious, educational, and civic organizations, as well as a large number of individuals. In the summer they get fresh produce from the Food Bank for Westchester and the Village of Croton Community Garden. Every Thanksgiving, Croton Rotary donates more than 100 turkeys.

Financial contributions come from grants by the Harry Chapin Memorial Run Against Hunger as well as federal, state, and county governments and individuals and organizations throughout the community. Over 90% of the organization's income pays for food. Small amounts are for rent, insurance, bank and other fees, and toys for Christmas.

Want to make a financial contribution?
Tax-deductible donations can be sent via check to Cortlandt Emergency Food Bank, 19 Old Post Road South, Croton-on-Hudson, New York, 10520.

Want to learn more?
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This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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