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