Recovery Kitchen Hosts Old-Fashioned Backyard BBQ to Thank Volunteers

Columbia County Recovery Kitchen hosted an old-fashioned backyard barbecue on Saturday, August 14, to thank its more than 90 dedicated volunteers who work to help vulnerable neighbors with food insecurity. Recovery Kitchen volunteers are drivers, schedulers, distribution staff, cooks, kitchen staff, and advisors working in the areas of fundraising, communication, grant writing and data collection. The event was held at the home of Carole Clark, Recovery Kitchen founder and long-time Hudson restaurateur.

Carole Clark, Recovery Kitchen founder, thanking volunteers for their hard work and dedication.
Carole Clark, Recovery Kitchen founder, thanking volunteers for their hard work and dedication.

“After 17 months of phone calls, text messages and Zoom meetings, our Recovery Kitchen organizers and volunteers finally were able to meet in person,” said Ms. Clark, continuing, “We had to delay this long-awaited, in-person gathering due to COVID restrictions.”

Carol Moore, volunteer, speaking to the group, with Carole Clark (photo by Sarah Sterling)
Carol Moore, volunteer, speaking to the group, with Carole Clark (photo by Sarah Sterling)

Recovery Kitchen’s large number of volunteers have diverse backgrounds. Many have moved to the Hudson Valley from either coast, with careers spanning a wide range of industries including fashion, finance, food and cookbook writing, law, publishing, newspaper reporting and nonprofit management. The artworld is represented among the volunteers too, from art dealers and artists to those from the music and entertainment industry.

Recovery Kitchen Chef, Jamie Parry, on the grill (photo by Rachel Weisman)
Recovery Kitchen Chef, Jamie Parry, on the grill (photo by Rachel Weisman)

The celebratory barbeque menu included grilled vegetables, burgers and hot dogs, potato salad, panzanella salad, watermelon feta salad and grilled peaches, all prepared by Recovery Kitchen Chef Jamie Parry. David Drake, a Recovery Kitchen volunteer, created festive beverages. Musical entertainment was provided by Rachel Weisman on vocals, accompanied by Jody Rael on guitar.

Jody Rael, on the guitar (photo by Rachel Weisman)
Jody Rael, on the guitar (photo by Rachel Weisman)

Recovery Kitchen, a local 501c3 public charity, opened its doors in April 2020. With the help of a fiscal sponsor and a church kitchen, two creative restaurant chefs, Jamie Parry (SWOON Kitchenbar) and John Carr (Le Perche) and their colleagues, they created 200 meals each week. By late summer, they were cooking and delivering 900 meals each week throughout the county. County social services and schools helped to identify people in need. Recovery Kitchen thrives due to the generosity and spirit of the community, including local farmers who donate freshly harvested vegetables and fruit, meat and cheese.

Group of four, from left to right: Ken and Barbara Cooke, John and Eleanor Luckacovic (photo by Sarah Sterling)
Group of four, from left to right: Ken and Barbara Cooke, John and Eleanor Luckacovic (photo by Sarah Sterling)

In thanking the volunteers, Ms. Clark recounted the organization’s origin story. “Initially planning the mechanics of Recovery Kitchen, I thought that finding people to cook and deliver the meals would be the biggest challenge. To our surprised delight, the response was overwhelming,” she said. “We are a truly dedicated and caring community, eager to work together to provide nutritious and delicious meals to Columbia County residents struggling with food insecurity. Since April 2020, we have delivered more than 50,000 meals. Recovery Kitchen is only possible because of all of you.”

Volunteers lining up for a delicious meal (from left to right: Ken Cooke, Zach Minor, Jim Maggio in background, Barbara Cooke, Paz Sullo, Mike Tizekker, Jeff Rigby and Deb Tibensky. Photo by Sarah Sterling)
Volunteers lining up for a delicious meal (from left to right: Ken Cooke, Zach Minor, Jim Maggio in background, Barbara Cooke, Paz Sullo, Mike Tizekker, Jeff Rigby and Deb Tibensky. Photo by Sarah Sterling)

Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer for Recovery Kitchen can sign up here.

Aerial View of the Recovery Kitchen party (photo by Win Jackson)
Aerial View of the Recovery Kitchen party from the treehouse (photo by Win Jackson)

 

Garden Party Fundraiser a Success

Carole Clark, founder, and Pam Kline, Co-Director, at the Recovery Kitchen garden party

On Saturday, July 10th, Recovery Kitchen hosted a garden party fundraiser, Planting Seeds to End Hunger, to support its work fighting food insecurity with nutrition security. More than 80 guests enjoyed a sunny afternoon in a Spencertown garden to celebrate community efforts to help Columbia County residents in need.

Founder Carole Clark and Co-Director Pam Kline at Recovery Kitchen garden party
Carole Clark, Recovery Kitchen founder, and Pam Kline, Co-Director

The afternoon opened with longtime Hudson restaurateur and Recovery Kitchen founder, Carole Clark, explaining her inspiration for preparing and delivering healthy meals to hungry, vulnerable people in the county — children, the elderly on their own, the unemployed, and working people who can’t make ends meet. “I realized what the impact of the pandemic would be on people in Hudson and Columbia County, and could only think about those who would be hit the hardest, people who were food insecure in the best of times.”

Recovery Kitchen, a local 501c3 public charity, opened its doors in April 2020. With the help of a fiscal sponsor and a church kitchen, two creative restaurant chefs, Jamie Parry (SWOON Kitchenbar) and John Carr (Le Perche) and their colleagues, they created 200 meals each week and by late summer were delivering 950 meals each week. County social services and schools helped to identify people in need. Recovery Kitchen thrives due to the generosity and spirit of the community. A team of more than 100 volunteers cook and clean, coordinate between the meal producers and drivers, and drive all over the county to deliver meals in 26 towns.

Founder, board member and guest enjoy Recovery Kitchen garden party
Carole Clark, Recovery Kitchen founder, with Board member Esther Trakinski and Stuart Fleischmann.

Recovery Kitchen is supported by local farmers who donate freshly harvested vegetables and fruit, meat and cheese. In addition, a food recovery program, called Long Table Harvest, helps to close the food loop through sustainable farm surplus redistribution. One of the local farmers, Harold Hilton, owner of Earth Tapestry Farm and Grow in Harmony Community Garden, discussed his farm’s approach to giving back to the community and his use of regenerative agriculture techniques to improve sustainability.

“Much of our time and effort goes to creating and nurturing the soil.  We ensure it is healthy and full of nutrients to support plants and their interdependent microbiotic communities,” said Mr. Hilton, continuing, “Our Grow In Harmony Community Garden, assisted by the most amazing volunteers from our community, has provided thousands of pounds of produce for the past 1.5 years and the primary recipient is the Recovery Kitchen.”

Farmer Harold Hilton and Founder Carole Clark at Recovery Kitchen garden party
Harold Hilton, owner of Earth Tapestry Farm and Grow in Harmony Community Garden

Despite the economy showing signs of bouncing back and local businesses reopening, the need for Recovery Kitchen’s services is continuing. The team continues to work with the county to identify people who would benefit from Recovery Kitchen’s services and has expanded the program to take referrals from community members as well as self-referrals. The organization’s goal is to increase the number of meal recipients and the number of meals served to some recipients. The Recovery Kitchen team also plans to develop ways to educate the community about the importance of diet and nutrition to prevent and treat some chronic diseases.

Recovery Kitchen Board member, volunteer and guests enjoy the garden party
Eric Spiegel, Recovery Kitchen board member and party garden owner; Tim Carlson, Paul Trantanella and Win Jackson, volunteer.

In addition to selling tickets for the event, a silent auction offered baskets of goods donated by local farmers and food purveyors. The 17 donors (in alphabetical order) were: Bimi’s, Churchtown Dairy, Copake Farmers  Market, Germantown Laundromat, Golden Harvest, Hearty Roots, Hudson Winery, Lawlor’s Package Store, Melinda Wax Designs, Olde Hudson, Otto’s Market, Random Harvest, Sadhana Yoga, Talbott and Arding, Tierra Farm, Verdigris, and Yandik’s Farm.

Silent auction table at Recovery Kitchen garden party
Melinda Wax, Recovery Kitchen volunteer and owner, Melinda Wax Designs, manning the silent auction table.

 

Silent auction basket at Recovery Kitchen garden party
Silent auction basket at Recovery Kitchen garden party

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

“From the very beginning, it was and is the outpouring of support from the community, that enables us to provide delicious, nutrient-rich meals to people who were food and nutrition insecure before Covid and who will continue to be after Covid,” said Ms. Clark. “We are grateful for the generosity of our donors and are ever thankful for our amazing army of dedicated volunteers who all support our ability to continue serving those in need in our community.”

Anyone interested in supporting Recovery Kitchen can do so here.

Board member, Esther Trakinski, and Co-Director, Pam Kline, at the Recovery Kitchen garden party
Board member, Esther Trakinski, and Co-Director, Pam Kline, at the Recovery Kitchen garden party.

Photos by Rachel Weisman and Pam Kline

#gardenparty
#ccrecoverykitchen
#neighborshelpingneighbors
#feedingourcommunity

 

 

 

 

 

Volunteers Making a Difference

Recovery Kitchen volunteers have fun
Chatham resident Tom Ehrich, seen here having some fun with fellow volunteer Karen Rosland, delivers healthy meals twice each week to help feed hungry neighbors in Hudson.

 

At Recovery Kitchen, we rely on the generosity of volunteers to help feed hungry neighbors throughout Columbia County (NY). Each profile is a “thank you” to these special people.

“Giving away food is as righteous as it gets,” says Chatham resident Tom Ehrich, volunteer driver for the Recovery Kitchen. Seen here having some fun with fellow volunteer Karen Rosland, Tom delivers healthy meals twice each week to help feed hungry neighbors in Hudson.

Please help Recovery Kitchen continue to provide food to local families in need. If you’d like to join Tom and Karen, sign up to volunteer.

#nationalnutritionmonth
#ccrecoverykitchen                                                                                                          #neighborshelpingneighbors                                                                                                    #feedingourcommunity

We’re Having a Party!

Secret Garden Party
Please join us to help feed hungry neighbors in need.

We are hosting a garden party to SOW SEEDS OF HOPE for folks experiencing food insecurity. You’ll meet the chefs, chat with the farmers, and join the fun in a glorious, secret Spencertown garden.

Join us on Saturday, July 10th, from 3 to 5pm. Sip prosecco or sparkling water and enjoy hors d’oeuvres by chef Jamie Parry as you wander the gardens.

Food insecurity has been rampant in Columbia County both before and during the pandemic and sadly, it will continue. Join us to help deliver 900 meals a week to families in need.

Tickets and information will be found here.  After you purchase tickets, details will be tumbling into your inbox.

WAIT, CAN’T ATTEND? Join us in spirit with a donation via this link.

Give whatever you can, it all helps to feed folks. Generosity is contagious, so please pitch in!

 

Hudson Rotary Donates to Recovery Kitchen

Hudson Interact Club high school students donate to Recovery Kitchen
Recovery Kitchen’s Pam Kline receives donated masks and a check from the Hudson Rotary Interact Youth Group high school students.

We are so grateful that the Hudson Rotary Club donated 500 face masks and a $200 check to the Recovery Kitchen. The Hudson Rotary Club sponsors an Interact Club for students between the ages of 12-18. The Interact Club members work together on local service projects in the community to help others and “better our world.”

The Hudson Rotary Club supports these students by helping to develop their leadership skills and to teach students about the Rotary motto of “Service Above Self.” Recovery Kitchen Co-organizer and Director, Pam Kline, is pictured here receiving the donated masks and check from the Rotary Interact Youth Group high school students.

If you’d like to make a donation to help us continue serving those in need in our community, you can do so here:

https://columbiacountyrecoverykitchen.org/donations/make-a-donation-2/

#ccrecoverykitchen
#neighborshelpingneighbors
#feedingourcommunity

Recovery Kitchen Turns 1!

birthday cake with candle celebrating 1st birthday
Design support thanks to Alison Matheny and BEST

The COLUMBIA COUNTY RECOVERY KITCHEN was founded on April 13, 2020 in response to the profound food insecurity spreading across our county in the wake of the pandemic. 

NOW WE ARE 1 YEAR OLD!

What a year this has been for all of us.

It has been 365 days filled with fear of COVID, joy at the distances we have covered together, and  appreciation of neighbors, family, friends and all the folks who do the good work of helping to feed those less fortunate than we are.

At the very start of the pandemic Carole Clark, who worked in the restaurant industry feeding people for ages, set about finding a new way to feed folks in need. And six weeks after lockdown began, Carole had RECOVERY KITCHEN up and running. The first week they served 200 free meals. All of this happened because of the vigorous, dedicated help of an army of volunteers and participating organizations.

Chef Jamie Parry from Swoon and John Carr, the chef from Le Perche, headed up the cooking. Two local churches (Christ Church Episcopal and First Presbyterian Church) offered a space to cook and a non-profit fiscal umbrella so that RECOVERY KITCHEN could raise funds. Pam Kline took the lead on finding drivers and recipients. Jamison Teale organized the meal distribution. Carol Peckham set up a GoFundMe account for start-up monies.  The first food insecure households were referred from the Sanctuary Movement, Social Services, Head Start, Reach and county schools.

EVERYONE STEPPED UP.                                           

In our first year, we have delivered more than 50,000 meals to families in need.  

It was a lot of work. And it still is, but the rewards are enormous.

COVID has been a tough time for everyone, a long bad moment. Our kitchen, is called RECOVERY because that is our path back, and the way get there is through the kindness and generosity of others.

This birthday celebration is for everyone who has cooked, driven miles in snow delivering meals, sent a donation, or called to check on folks to make sure that all of us know we matter.

ALL OF US.

Because all of us are recovering together from a challenging year.

So Happy Birthday to the circle who helps in ways big and small.

Please donate today so we can continue to help our neighbors or sign-up to be a volunteer.

RECOVERY KITCHEN MARCHES ON

For many of us, welcome to a second March in quarantine. We hope this spring will bring better times.

At the Columbia County Recovery Kitchen, we are about to mark a full year of chopping, sizzling, stirring, dicing, and in short. . .  cooking for those in our community who have been hit with terrible food shortages.

Hunger is horrible

Hungry child
Children in our community are hungry.

We all know the glory, from childhood and beyond, of coming into a house redolent with the aroma of cookies, a stew burbling on a back burner, garlic sizzling in a hot pan or hot chocolate waiting in a cup.

But so many families, seniors, teens or single folks have been slammed by the pandemic and economic hardship. Jobs that seemed so steady evaporated. Families with full pantries were scrimping and children went to bed hungry often crying into pillows so their mothers wouldn’t hear them.

Recovery Kitchen Vowed to Help Our Community

We started Recovery Kitchen as a pop up project in April 2020 in response to the stories about profound hunger in our county. And during this year, thanks to the kitchen wizardry of chef Jamie Parry and our army of talented, dedicated volunteers, we have delivered nearly 1,000 meals each week. A total of 30,000 healthy, yummy meals over the course of the year.

Volunteers Tom Ehrich and Karen Rosland load food to be delivered to those in need.

An army of 89 volunteer drivers traverse Columbia County from top to tip ensuring that meals are delivered four days a week. Drivers meander down dirt roads, park in apartment lots and deliver to back porches or trailers where kids are playing in mountains of snow. Although deliveries adhere to strict safety guidelines, often recipients wave thanks or holler out appreciation though creaky screens doors.

We are committed to continuing to find and serve all of Columbia County’s food insecure through this pandemic. We will continue beyond the quarantine because hunger often hides in plain sight and people need help.

Neighbors Helping Neighbors

As we begin again to chop carrots, wash lettuce, or simmer beef for chili to ward off the chill in our souls and bellies, we want to stop to thank you all. Our supporters, drivers, cooks, clients and patrons.

Recovery Kitchen feeds people in need, yes, but it also reminds all of us that we are a circle united by caring. We are neighbors helping neighbors.

Thank You So Much

In order to fund this initiative we rely on our circle.  That is you.

Our Valentine’s fundraiser created elegant, romantic dinners that raised more than $12,000 and we are planning a fun Summer Kick-Off Picnic, so stay tuned.

We know this year strained pocketbooks, patience and tested faith but, we emerge yearning to see spring on the horizon. And we see hope.

We welcome volunteers and your donations.

a Great Valentine’s Day Dinner From the Recovery Kitchen

The best things to do with the best things in life is to give them away.” Dorothy Day

Jamie Parry, a professional chef, has taken these words to heart by working full time at the Columbia County Recovery Kitchen, where he is currently providing 950 meals a week to people in the County with food insecurity. 

Now, he would like to cook for you on Valentine’s Day. You can help us continue to give away these best things to people in need by purchasing a ticket or two and enjoy in the warmth, comfort and security of your home a very special dinner made with love.

Carole Clark, chef proprietor of the former Charleston restaurant on Hudson, conceived the Recovery Kitchen last spring in the early days of the pandemic. With Pam Kline, a local business owner, they developed a plan to create a kitchen to provide daily healthy and delicious meals and deliver them to households in need throughout the county. They enlisted Jamie Parry and another chef, John Carr, whose restaurants, Swoon and Le Perche, had temporarily closed. Christ Church Episcopal provided the kitchen and First Presbyterian Church handled donations and invoices.

Now, what began as a pop-up kitchen is needed indefinitely. Since April of last year the Recovery Kitchen has delivered over 25,000 meals. The pandemic here is worse than ever, the vaccine is slow in distribution, and unemployment is high. To ensure the Kitchen’s on-going existence, Jamie Parry is now the full-time chef, committed to delivering the healthy meals that are so critical to so many people.

And on February 14, you can drive to his kitchen and pick up a meal for yourself. Click on the link, see the menu options, and purchase your dinner!

The Recovery Kitchen Is Seeking the Hidden Hungry

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   info@columbiacountyrecoverykitchen.org.

Thanks to our Chefs, Cooks, and Kitchen Volunteers

The Recovery Kitchen could never have happened without the creative and hard work of our professional chefs and cooks as well as the unsung hero volunteers who keep the kitchen organized and spotless.  Our special thanks to Jamie Parry, our founding and current chef, and to John Carr, his fellow founder, now back at Le Perche. 

With deepest appreciation,

Carole Clark, Pam Kline, Carol Peckham.  Directors, Columbia County Recovery Kitchen 

Chefs and Cooks

Jamie Parry, Columbia County Recovery Kitchen, Chef, le Perche
John Carr, Chef, le Perche
Stephanie Skiadas, Chef, Gaskins
Craig Dillon
Traver Keil
Nancy Kuster
Sally Parry
Derick Pearson

Kitchen Volunteers

Usha Berlin

Nicole Cherubini

Janina Dieppe

Joan Feder 

Jan and Lester Greenburg

Tully Hedley

Betty Isler

Carol Moore

Bebe Pebworth