Caring for the Hungry and Homeless of Peekskill (CHHOP) has launched a summer challenge to bring local businesses and organizations closer as a community to help alleviate hunger and homelessness in the area.
One of the primary goals of the Peekskill Summer Challenge, which runs from July 25 through September 21, is to empower individuals and veterans who are homeless to become independent and ensure all Peekskill families have enough healthy and nutritious food.
“Hunger and homelessness in our community affect all of us. When our loved ones, veterans and neighbors go hungry without a safe place to sleep at night, the strength of our families and our economy suffers,” said Cynthia Knox, CEO of CHHOP. “Fortunately, we hold the power to alleviate hunger and homelessness in Peekskill and one day across Westchester County. The Peekskill Summer Challenge offers an important opportunity for local businesses, faith leaders and residents alike to take a stand against homelessness and I look forward to seeing what we can accomplish together.”
There are approximately 200,000 residents that Westchester County classifies as being “food insecure.” Among them, 1,750 individuals experience homelessness. The food pantry run by CHHOP in Peekskill helps about 400 individuals each week, while the Jan Peek House shelter it operates provides a temporary home for about 25 residents.
“As a third generation Peekskill business owner, I understand firsthand how important it is that we come together to alleviate homelessness and hunger in our community,” said Charles (Chuck) J. Newman, president of Charles Newman Co. on South Street. “I’m proud to partner with CHHOP for the Peekskill Summer Challenge and help bring us that much closer to ensuring everyone in Peekskill has access to the essential resources they need to thrive. It’s a smart move for our local economy and also simply the right thing to do.”
Community members, businesses and organizations are invited to participate in the challenge by displaying a poster in their store, organization or place of residence; hosting a donation box for nonperishable food items; dropping off food or new clothing at the Jan Peek House at 200 North Water Street in Peekskill; stopping by the CHHOP table at the Peekskill Farmers Market; participating in one-on-one mentoring and/or job training with CHHOP residents; or making a contribution at www.chhop.org.
“We all share a responsibility to look out for the most vulnerable among us and I am deeply grateful for all that CHHOP does to support those in our community who struggle with hunger and homelessness,” said Pastor Carlos R. Figueroa Colombani of Peekskill Methodist Church. “Any of us could be one bad health scare or car accident away from living on the brink of homelessness. I am proud to join my neighbors in raising awareness about these important issues.”
CHHOP, a non-profit organization, raised the ire of a host of residents when it proposed relocating the Jan Peek House, the only homeless shelter in northern Westchester, to Washington Street. Following months of debate at Common Council meetings, CHHOP announced it had scuttled those plans and is looking elsewhere. However, its application before the city to rezone the property on Washington Street has never been withdrawn.