Yonkers, NY--About three dozen incredibly eager volunteers representing Yonkers Raceway, Empire City, the horsemen’s association and the driving colony paid a Tuesday afternoon (Aug. 21) visit to the Food Bank for Westchester. The organization is located in Elmsford, about 20 minutes north of Yonkers.
The purpose was certainly a worthy one, packaging food--two-pound bags of navy beans and 12-packs of bagels, to be precise--for countywide dissemination. Various items are prepared for shipment on any given day.
"Hunger is a serious issue," Yonkers General Manager Bob Galterio said. "I’m proud that our employees took time from their busy schedules to lend a hand. Many of our employees and patrons are from Yonkers and Westchester, so it’s nice to be able to do our part.”
|Sean Hamrock Photos|
|Yonkers driver Brent Holland helps out.|
Employees from any number of departments participated, as did directors of the Standardbred Owners Association of New York and drivers Jason Bartlett, Brent Holland (with family), Larry Stalbaum and Jordan Stratton. They were given a tour of the expansive operation, then were summarily dressed (gloves, hair nets and aprons) for their appointed rounds.
“Just knowing you're doing something good for community is very rewarding. You have to be grateful to be able to put food on the table, to have food to eat," said Holland. "I wanted my children to be here to understand how blessed they are, not to take good opportunities lightly, and to take advantage of opportunities to help."
Bartlett said: "When we heard about the visit, it was a no-brainer to come out and give some time to the Food Bank. It feels great to be here. There’s a lot of food to be distributed and not a lot of manpower.”
Stratton said: "As drivers, we are very competitive on the track, so it’s nice to get together to help the community."
Stalbaum said: “Just helping out people here is great. If everybody did a little extra, it would make a big difference."
|While they might be competitors on the track, drivers Larry Stalbaum (left), Jordan Stratton and Jason Bartlett (right) were a team at the Food Bank.|
The Food Bank for Westchester, one of eight food banks in New York State, is the backbone of the county’s emergency food network. It acquires, warehouses and distributes more than seven million pounds of food annually to more than 220 frontline hunger-relief organizations. Those organizations include food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, day care and residential programs.
“There is nothing special about this room (where the food packing is done), until you put people in it,” Nancy Lyons, the Food Bank's volunteer coordinator, said. “Then, the room comes to life.
"Only goodness happens in this room. What an awesome connection to the most populous city in Westchester (Yonkers). In just a week, they're going to be feeding many of their neighbors.”
In early 2012, the Food Bank moved to a larger facility (200 Clearbrook Road in Elmsford), to get more food out to more of the estimated 200,000 people in Westchester who are hungry or at risk of hunger. The Food Bank’s mission is to lead, engage and educate Westchester County residents in creating a hunger-free environment.
For more information, contact the Food Bank (914-923-1100), or visit them on-line at www.foodbankforwestchester.org.
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