The Hudson River Bank & Trust Foundation has approved a grant of $1,000 for the Columbia County Recovery Kitchen, an extraordinary project founded and launched in April by Carole Clark, a former chef and proprietor of Charleston Restaurant. Her intention was to create a pop-up kitchen to supply the greatly increased demand for food in response to the coronavirus and subsequent unemployment in the County.
Without forming a formal non-profit, she recruited professionals, local churches, and other organizations to quickly produce the structure she needed to create the Recovery Kitchen. She first brought on Pamela Kline of Livingston to help with organizing this effort and two Hudson chefs, who were out of work during the pandemic: Swoon’s chef Jamie Parry and Le Perche’s John Carr. The Episcopal Christ Church loaned their kitchen, the First Presbyterian Church provided the basis for collecting donations; and the sponsorship of the Columbia County Democratic Committee supplied liability insurance.
As of early June, the chefs have been cooking over 900 meals a week and the numbers continue to climb. Volunteer drivers pick up and deliver them to families in Hudson and 25 towns throughout the county. Families are referred by the Columbia County Sanctuary Movement, Columbia County Social Services, social workers and administrators of the County public schools, Headstart, REACH, and Columbia Opportunities.
Current resources are sufficient to fund the kitchen for a couple of months, and the HRBT grant will certainly help, but it is impossible to predict when the crisis will end. There is wide consensus that food insecurity will continue beyond the opening of the economy, as the volume of business will most likely be inadequate to bring back all those who lost their jobs.
The underserved people of Columbia County will continue to need resources such as the Recovery Kitchen for the foreseeable future. To donate, please visit our donation page.
Here’s one mother’s response to the delivery of healthy dinners to her home. “It was delicious and my kids ate everything and it was nice I didn’t have to cook and clean up for the first time in 234,567 days. I know I’m a bit far from Hudson but I really appreciated it. A few weeks ago I wasn’t sure I’d even be able to feed my family so my appreciation is beyond words.”