The Examiner

Mt. Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry Serves Community for 25 Years

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Mount Kisco resident Roberta Horowitz, the Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry’s operations director, and Robert Cummings, the president of the pantry’s board of directors. The pantry is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.
Mount Kisco resident Roberta Horowitz, the Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry’s operations director, and Robert Cummings, the president of the pantry’s board of directors. The pantry is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year.

Mention Westchester County and hunger among its residents is probably one of the last images in many people’s minds.

But representatives of the Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry, see hungry families stream into the United Methodist Church on East Main Street where the pantry is located on a weekly basis.

“I think in this affluent area people are mostly unaware that there are people who have a hard time putting food on the table,” said Robert Cummings, president of the pantry’s board of directors.

For 25 years, the now 270 families on average who use the pantry each week are grateful the organization has been lending a helping hand. Recently, the organization was honored for its service to the community by Mayor Michael Cindrich.

Cummings said congregants from Temple Shaaray Tefila in Bedford, the Lutheran Church of the Resurrection and the Presbyterian Church of Mount Kisco founded the pantry.

“Some people were coming to the Lutheran Church, one of the original founders, who were hungry,” Cummings said “That’s how it started. Just somebody realized there were hungry people and some other people started talking to others and said let’s create a little organization where these people and future people can get what they need.”

It started in a small house on Moore Avenue in 1991. About eight people would regularly receive groceries from the pantry when it started, Cummings said. The organization has grown to include volunteers and donors from 13 local houses of worship in Mount Kisco, Bedford and Armonk.

Many of the pantry’s recipients are employed but are seasonal or part-time employees, such as landscapers, earning minimum wage and struggling to make ends meet.

“They have a hard time putting food on the table,” Cummings said.

Roberta Horowitz, the pantry’s operations director and a Mount Kisco resident, said some people who never thought they would need food assistance are recipients. Unforeseen circumstances such as health issues or divorce have contributed to difficult financial situations for some of the pantry’s clients, she said.

Many of the new clients are immigrants while others have been victimized by stagnant wages for years. Increased awareness of the pantry’s existence has helped swell its client base, Horowitz said.

Home delivery of food is also provided to about 20 seniors.

Cummings said some people who needed food on a temporary basis often return to donate food when they’re on more solid financial footing.

The pantry is open to its clients Tuesdays from 5 to 7 p.m. and Wednesdays from 9:30 to 11 a.m. Clients are given a shopping cart and are assisted by volunteers. Offerings include fruits, vegetables, pasta, rice, milk, juices, peanut butter, eggs, beans, meats and fish, much of which is bought at the Food Bank for Westchester by money that has been donated to the pantry.

Bread is donated by Panera Bread in Bedford Hills and bagels from Bagel Emporium in Armonk.

In season, produce is donated by Hilltop Hanover Farm in Yorktown, the Mount Kisco Elementary School garden, the InterGenerate Community Garden in Mount Kisco and the Food Bank, Horowitz said. Muscoot Farm in Somers will begin to donate produce in the near future as will Douglas Grafflin Elementary School in Chappaqua, she said.

Free nutrition classes are provided at the pantry by the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Horowitz said.

She said the pantry’s clients can come once a week. The only requirement is they must be a Mount Kisco resident or live in a surrounding community that does not have a pantry providing food on a weekly basis, she said. Aside from Mount Kisco, the pantry’s clients come from Bedford, North Castle, Chappaqua, Pleasantville and Somers.

Volunteers play an important role at the pantry ensuring the operation runs smoothly. Every week the local houses of worship provide volunteers on a rotating basis, typically about 18 to 20 a week to handle the two distributions. There is also a rotation of volunteers who make the home deliveries to seniors, Horowitz said. Volunteers raise money, complete grant applications and provide publicity through the pantry’s newsletter, website and Facebook page.

The pantry has three paid part-time workers, Cummings said.

“Virtually everything that happens here at the pantry is done by volunteers,” he said.

The Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry, housed within the United Methodist Church, is located at 300 E. Main St. For more information, including how to make donations of food and cash, call 914-610-5187 or visit





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