Human InterestThe Examiner

Mt. Kisco Food Pantry Appoints its First-Ever Executive Director

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Katharine Fontaine became the Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry’s first executive director on Monday. Fontaine had previously volunteered for the organization and also had served on its board of directors.

It’s distressing that dependence on pantries and food banks such as the Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry remains high. But for the hundreds of families that rely on the assistance and the communities where they live, it’s also a blessing that there is a place for them to turn.

That spiraling need is one of the reasons why the Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry, established just over 30 years ago, has hired its first-ever executive director.

On Monday, Katharine (Trina) Fontaine, who has been a volunteer for the pantry and also previously served on its board, started in the new role. After a career on Wall Street, Fontaine worked for about a decade for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation’s Greater New York chapter as its senior development director.

Fontaine said among her main responsibilities will be fund development, including increasing corporate sponsorship, reaching out to donors, pursuing grant opportunities at the federal, state and county level and from private organizations and raising awareness about the pantry in the community.

“The increase in the number of people relying on our food distribution over the last three years is staggering, and I am humbled by the opportunity for my skills to be used in service to my community,” said Fontaine, an Armonk resident for about 20 years and who represented St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church when serving on the pantry board.

Sharon Seidell, the current president of the pantry’s board of directors, said while COVID-19 and the current spike in inflation have swelled the numbers of families who need the service, the nonprofit organization had discussed bringing on an executive director before the pandemic struck.

The need for the service has now made the hire even more imperative despite a highly dedicated roster of volunteers and part-timers who have kept the day-to-day operations working well, Seidell said. In some cases, volunteers were putting in 20 to 30 hours a week to make sure the twice-weekly food distributions ran smoothly.

In the weeks leading up to Christmas, the pantry helped about 600 families a week, which eclipsed the 550 weekly recipients during the height of the pandemic in the spring of 2020. She said the steep inflation during the past year pressured families’ finances even if many who lost their jobs due to COVID-19 are once again employed.

Seidell said Fontaine’s familiarity with the organization and her experience in the nonprofit world will be of great service to the pantry.

“In order to support the number of people with food the way we want to, making sure it’s good, nutritious food and ample food and that people know how to use that, that takes more resources,” Seidell said. “We’re at the point where we said, ‘Okay, if we really want to continue this, we need to continue to improve our operations as well as the development.’ So we need to get even more support from the community and organizations that are already generous to us. So with all of that, this is what an executive director does.”

The Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry, which has 14 member congregations in the village and in surrounding communities, started as a grassroots organization serving a limited number of families in 1992. That number has steadily grown over the years, and jumped alarmingly with the 2008 financial crisis and recession and more recently with the pandemic.

While the overwhelming percentage of families who use the pantry come from Mount Kisco, residents from 21 communities in the county are served, including Mount Pleasant, Pound Ridge and Yorktown Heights.

Fontaine, who was also active with the Junior League of Norther Westchester since shortly after moving to Armonk in 2002, said she’s looking forward to the challenge and helping an organization that does great work close to home.

“This has just gotten so big that it makes sense to bring in the paid positions on staff, which can supplement what the volunteers and the board do,” she said.

The pantry, operating out of the United Methodist Church at 300 E. Main St., distributes food to its guests on Tuesdays from 3:15 to 7 p.m. and on Wednesdays from 9 to 11 a.m. For more information about the Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry, visit




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