We concluded our annual Thanks4Giving fund drive last week and we can’t say it enough: Thank you!! Because of your generosity, we exceed the amount raised last year and will now be able to continue expanding the number of households we serve in Columbia County. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
And we would also like to extend the most heartfelt thank you to the foundations that awarded us grants during this fundraising cycle as well. Those include: Hudson River Bank and Trust Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation Broadway Cares Key Bank Utopia Foundation Abbatacola Foundation Dyson Foundation Walmart Reinhart Foundation Berkshire Bank The Ackerman Family Foundation and Price Chopper!
After splitting responsibilities with Chef Jamie, Tommy is now is taking over the CCRK kitchen and leading the preparation of 1100 meals every week. Here are some things you should know about him!
He got his start working at Tom’s Luncheonette, his father’s establishment in New York City. After moving to Spencertown, Carlucci headed kitchens at the now closed fine dining establishment, Quintessence, in Albany, Chatham’s Blue Plate, Hawthorne Valley and most recently the Chatham Food Coop. His catering business, Carlucci Catering, did events for such diverse organizations as Art Omi, the Columbia Land Conservancy and the Spencertown Fire Department.
Carlucci came to cooking during what he calls his “Kerouac years.” He was on the road for several years, “running towards something, not away” he says, and realized that cooking allowed him to work anywhere. Despite his years of experience in the kitchen, Carlucci says: “No one can call me a chef. I am a cook”
“My goal at CCRK is to do restaurant quality meals, “he says. “I try to rotate meals so each week recipients receive a different dish than the week before. I also try to get feedback. For instance, the Hudson Youth Center gets eighty meals on Monday but we never send fish!”
He is also reviving his catering business, now called Thomas Carlucci Catering, but intending to restrict it to small events. “I have one job now,” he says,” I grew up in a Bronx neighborhood of Italians and Jews where everyone would want to feed me. Food was love and that’s how I feel about this job.”
Chef Jamie Parry prepared his last meals for the Columbia County Recovery Kitchen on Wednesday, December 14. “I worked seven days a week for almost three years, so I just need to rest.” “But I’m leaving the kitchen in capable hands with Tommy,” said Parry, referring to Tommy Carlucci. “I’ll be guest chef now and then to help him out.”
After pandemic shutdowns closed Hudson restaurants, Jamie, the chef at Swoon Kitchenbar, began cooking for the Salvation Army with fellow chef John Carr of Le Perche.
“We were only making 70 meals a day at the Salvation Army,” he said. For two chefs that wasn’t exactly practical. He knew that they could do more and through mutual friends, Carol Clark and Pam Kline, founders of CCRK found them and asked if they were interested in creating a kitchen, he said. They were.
Since then, the CCRK has delivered over 70,000 nutritious and delicious meals to residents of Columbia County, where 11.5% of families and individuals are food insecure. Is it different cooking for those in need rather than restaurant customers? “It’s more like family meal,” said Parry, referring to the meal prepared by the chef and eaten by the kitchen and service staff before a restaurant opens.
“CCRK receives produce and protein donations from farms all across the area and that brings me back to the roots of why I cook,” said Parry, referring to the amazing ingredients he uses to make the almost 1100 weekly meals produced with love in the kitchen of the Christ Church Episcopal of Hudson. “I try to make very simple, well-seasoned and good food,” Parry says about the meals he and his dedicated team of volunteer kitchen workers produce.
Parry threw praise to other organizations in Columbia Country who fight food insecurity as well. “I know that JJ and company over at the West Taghkanic Diner put out meals on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Little Deb’s Oasis has a little refrigerator out front and even Christ Church has a very small free open food pantry.”
“I just want to thank everyone at Christ Church Episcopal, all the volunteers and all the farmers and distributors. I have worked with some of the volunteers since day one and they make this possible. I mean, I just came in and did what I know how to do.”
Today is Recovery Kitchen’s second birthday! Thanks to your incredible support over the past two years, Recovery Kitchen thoughtfully prepared and delivered 66,000+ meals to vulnerable neighbors. Donate now to help alleviate hunger at http://bit.ly/CCRKBirthday2
Even with our efforts, more than 6,000 individuals including children and seniors fight daily against hunger and malnutrition in our area.
Food insecurity has detrimental health effects especially on senior populations, such as an increased likeliness to experience depression, diabetes, congestive heart failure, and asthma. Recovery Kitchen’s drivers deliver home-cooked nutritious meals to the doorsteps of seniors, as well as other families and individuals in need.
Betsy Albert joined the Recovery Kitchen team in the early stages, delivering nine meals to four separate homes each week. “It’s a real eye-opening experience. There is so much inequity right in the middle of our community.”, she said. Delivering meals gives insight into the struggles of her own neighbors, some just a mile away without stoves or electricity. Betsy continues to build strong and gratifying relationships with the families along her delivery route – our work wouldn’t possible without volunteers like her!
Recovery Kitchen is honoring two years of growth, exciting developments, and delicious food, all of which we couldn’t have done without your support! Since its inception, Recovery Kitchen has delivered 70,000+ nutritious and delicious meals to our community. Thank you for making this impactful work possible!
As we turn the next chapter in our books, we want to celebrate major accomplishments for our organization and community. Recovery Kitchen welcomed a second chef to its team, Chef Tommy Carlucci.
Through a vast increase in farm donations, local produce and proteins have never been more present in Recovery Kitchen meals. Hudson Valley Fisheries donate fresh steelhead trout, and local beef, pork, chicken, eggs and greens from farms like Wally Farms and Grow in Harmony Recovery Garden continue to be featured in many of our meals.
Just a few other milestones included…
Increased deliveries from 4 to 5 days per week
Officially receiving 501-c3 status
Added two new board members, Stephanie Sussman and John Brigham
Completed robust survey of all recipients to gather participant data
Invited referrals from neighbors and self-referrals
In honor of incredible growth in just one year, Recovery Kitchen is celebrating our birthday during the month of April with delectable treats from the area’s finest bakeries. Keep your eyes peeled for the announcement!
For almost two years now, Tully Hedley drives every Tuesday for Recovery Kitchen, dropping off meals to five to ten houses along his route. “I like being part of the community and feeling like I’m giving back”, he said. Since his start, Tully has been a backbone of the volunteer drivers, always taking on extra routes if needed. “Everybody feels like they’re part of a team, it’s joyous”.
We’re grateful for volunteers like Tully who make our work possible. Thank you!
This Valentine’s Day, Columbia County Recovery Kitchen wants to give gratitude to our supporters like you who make it possible to continue feeding hungry families. Thank you.
Giving the gift of food is a caring, loving, and thoughtful act of generosity. Food is love, comfort, and warmth. Sharing food is at the heart of our mission at Recovery Kitchen. Will you help spread the love byproviding one meal for an entire family each month? At just $25 a month, your small gift provides one family of four with a meal like Soft Polenta with Tomatoes and Sausage for a family without food right now.
In becoming a monthly sponsor, your recurring gift means reliable funding for long-term meal services. You can help spread a little love and comfort to a family in need. Click here to begin monthly donations!
It is with heavy hearts that we announced that our beloved Carol Peckham has passed from her battle with cancer, in her home, surrounded by loved ones. Carol is survived by her loving husband, Michael; her three children, Geoffrey, Jillian and William; her stepchildren, Sarah and Jeremy, and six grandchildren.
Carol was one of the founding co-directors of Recovery Kitchen and a fierce advocate for those struggling to put food on their tables. Always positive, Carol put joy, passion, and a sense of humor into everything she did. She was a pillar in our community, working for years with the Salvation Army and the Columbia County Democratic Party before joining Recovery Kitchen.
If you would like to pay tribute to Carol, please donate in her memory to continue her work for Recovery Kitchen. You can donate here.
Read below for her obituary:
Carol Peckham, age 78, of Greenport, NY, died November 5th in her home.
Carol Peckham was born in Albany, NY. She grew up in Averill Park, NY, received a BA from Bennington College, and moved to New York City, where she lived and worked for more than 30 years. After weekending upstate since 2001, she and her husband Michael Grisham moved full time to Greenport, NY in 2014 and built a house together.
She had a long and significant career in medical publishing, first as Publisher of Scientific American Medicine and Care of the Surgical Patient and later Vice-President at Scientific American. There, she managed continuously updated print and the first CD-ROM delivery of medical information to physicians.
In 1992 she and Cynthia Chevins started Nidus Information Services, a series of reports designed to be delivered both in print and online directly to consumers. They sold Nidus to A.D.A.M, later acquired by Ebix, and both then worked at Medscape, the physician information division of WebMD.
After retiring from publishing, she ran for the town board in Greenport and was secretary of the Columbia County Democratic Committee, as well devoting herself to local food assistance, first cooking for the Salvation Army and then co-founding the Columbia County Recovery Kitchen during the COVID 19 pandemic.
She was a passionate, brilliant and witty writer who kept numerous blogs covering a wide array of subjects including politics, food, and marvelous observations on her own growing older. Her writing reflected her lifelong dedication to helping others, yet was never preachy or didactic, for it always shone with the keen sense of humor, the intelligent sympathy, and the generosity of spirit that all who knew her will miss.
She died peacefully looking out on the meadow and pond she loved.
The Chatham Synagogue Community Cookbook is a delightful collection of recipes for a good cause. The book is a compilation of Jewish culinary delights from everyday recipes to celebratory meals. Contributions to the book are from local Chatham Synagogue community members as well as celebrity chefs with ties to Columbia County, NY.
All funds raised from cookbook sales are donated to Columbia County Recovery Kitchen, an organization that fights concerning rates of food insecurity by providing delicious and nutritious meals delivered to those in need. So far, the book has raised close to $2,000!
The delightful home-style recipes, accompanied by reminiscences by the cooks, include Noodle Kugels, Potato Latkes, Kashe and Varnishes, Challah, Chicken Soup, and Matzoh Balls and Passover sweets such as Honey Cake, Lemon Cheesecake and Macaroons. There are many vegetarian recipes such as a Vegetarian Cholent to excite any eater.
The international lens reflects the home cooks’ passionate love of cooking. Many are influenced by Moroccan, Turkish, Italian, and Middle Eastern cuisines. Looking for creative and healthy recipes? The book is for home cooks interested in finding unusual, easy, delicious, and nutritious recipes. The diversity is inspiring, from Mandelbrot to a Harissa Painted Bird to Date Ketchup – there is a recipe for everyone at your dinner table.
The book is inspired by the unique stories and abundant produce found locally in the Hudson Valley. Home cooking in Columbia County is alive and well!
Thank to you everyone who purchased a cookbook! We’re grateful for your support.