In 2019, the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley supplied local families in need with 8,000 tons of food. Then came the pandemic, with its wave of job losses. “The demand for emergency food shot up by 50 perfect practically overnight,” says director Paul Stermer. “We are on track for about 25,000,000 pounds of food this year. There was no chance to prepare, the demand just suddenly shot up and stayed there. It’s been steady the last three months. It’s anybody’s guess what the future holds, but it feels likely to be the new reality going forward.”
It is fitting that on the heels of the pandemic, and the organization’s 30th anniversary, readers would choose the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley for a Chronogrammie in Advocacy/ Activism. The organization also earned another win for best fundraising event for their annual Farm-to-Fork Feast.
The FBHV is currently re-envisioning future events and campaigns with public health in mind, so stay tuned for detail. But if the past is anything to judge by, the Farm-to-Fork Feasts will continue to be mouthwatering. The organization, which handles industrial-sized donations of food on a regular basis, has also found a sweet spot involving the better angels of Hudson Valley foodie culture in the service of a higher cause. Last year’s fundraiser featured Villa Borghese, Heritage Food and Drink, Cosimo’s on Union, Brotherhood Winery, Cafe Spice, Caribbean Mango, chef Zach Berger, the Culinary Institute of America, Henry’s at the Farm, Hudson Ale Works, Janet’s Quality Baked Goods, Newburgh Brewing Co., North Plank Road Tavern, Orange County Distillery, the Ship Lantern Inn, and Whitecliff Vineyard and Winery.
The community continues to step up. “Being a 55,000-square-foot warehouse in a Cornwall residential neighborhood, we’re not exactly invisible,” says Stermer. “Lately, a lot more people have been noticing and that’s great. There’s no way we could do this alone—we are our donors, volunteers, and the 400 partner agencies that are doing the actual feeding of people. If we do our part well, the community does well. That’s what sustains us.”