Since the pandemic started last spring, the Columbia County Recovery Kitchen has delivered over 24,000 healthy dinners to families in need throughout the county. The number of its volunteers has also swelled. The Recovery Kitchen chef Jamie Parry now works full time, managing up to 7 volunteer cooks and 9 kitchen helpers. Passionate and compassionate, these generous people prep from scratch, cook and package all the meals, which are then passed on to five volunteers who distribute the meals to over 90 drivers. Christ Church Episcopal in Hudson provides the kitchen and the First Presbyterian Church has managed the Recovery Kitchen’s finances.
The operation has been effective and successful in combating the problem of hunger in the County, which has been greatly exacerbated by the covid pandemic.
Currently, the families and individuals who receive food from the Recovery Kitchen are referred by the county’s Department of Social Services, Head Start, Columbia Opportunities, the REACH Center, the Columbia County Reentry Program, Friends of the Hudson Youth Center, and administrators from nearly all the county public schools.
Recently, however, the Recovery Kitchen founders, Carole Clark and Pamela Kline, are wondering if they are still missing many people who struggle with food insecurity. One of the drivers last month reported that a client had complained of a neighbor stealing meals off his porch. In another recent incident, a driver was delivering a dinner to one house and suddenly a person from the house next door ran over saying they were hungry and asked for a spare meal. The solution: add the both neighbors to the delivery list.
However, Clark and Kline are concerned that many families who suffer from food insecurity are unrecorded and that the upcoming hard winter will only increase this hidden population. So how many are there and how can they be reached? The Recovery Kitchen now has the capacity to extend its outreach for the foreseeable future.
To recommend families who might need its services, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.