Before the pandemic began, there was little general awareness of the poverty existing in our county. The Covid-19 shutdown has forced us to recognize the vulnerable communities around us that have lost employment and are struggling with food insecurity.
Countywide, food pantries provide much-needed access to groceries, but the offerings can be limited. In addition, food pantry products rely heavily on canned goods and other foods that can be high in carbohydrates but offer little protein. Therefore, there is a critical need for healthy, balanced meals made from fresh ingredients and delivered to people’s homes.
In recognition of this problem, local food advocates and chefs created the Columbia County Recovery Kitchen.
Within a month of conception, CCRK was up and running. The mission: to prepare and deliver nutrient-rich, balanced meals to vulnerable adults and children who have been referred to us by county social service organizations, public school social workers and the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement.
CCRK prepared two hundred dinners the first week. Within a month, the number expanded to eight hundred. Days in the kitchen grew from three to five.
Professional chef Jamie Parry heads up the kitchen and manages other volunteer cooks. Whether developing menus, ordering from restaurant wholesale suppliers or coordinating donations from local farmers, joy fills their kitchen. Passionate cooks and compassionate, generous people, they prep from scratch, cook and package all the meals for delivery. Masked, gloved and capped, they follow physical distance guidelines and health department protocols.
The meals are delivered by volunteer drivers and drivers from the Department of Social Services and the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement.
A volunteer initiative, CCRK has two partners.
The Christ Church Episcopal (Reverend Eileen Weglarz) loans its kitchen and the First Presbyterian Church (Reverend Kathryn Beilke) provides fiscal sponsorship as the basis for collecting tax deductible donations.
Funding comes from our community of supporters through fundraisers and website and direct donations. We have been awarded grants from the Berkshire Taconic Community Fund and the Hudson River Bank and Trust Foundation. All monies raised will be used to keep the kitchen going through, and hopefully beyond, the acute phase of the pandemic. Our hope is to continue as long as there is a Covid-19-created economic crisis.
Who we serve
- Adults and children throughout Columbia County are referred to us by the following organizations and agencies.
- Department of Social Services
- Head Start
- Columbia Opportunities
- The REACH Center
- Columbia County Sanctuary Movement
- Columbia County Reentry Program
- Friends of the Hudson Youth Center
- Public school administrators in the Taconic Hills, Ichabod Crane, Germantown, Chatham, and Hudson City school districts (serving families in Philmont, Claverack, Livingston, Taghkanic, Elizaville, Germantown, Copake, Canaan, Copake Falls, Austerlitz, Old Chatham, East Chatham, Chatham, Ghent, Niverville, Stuyvesant, Stuyvesant Falls, Valatie, Ancramdale, Chatham, Kinderhook, Hillsdale, Craryville, Stockport, Stottville, Greenport and Hudson).