- Courtesy of the USDA, CC license 2.0
State-mandated school closures and recommended social distancing measures might offer a break for some, but for many families it means added expenses with little to no income. This can lead to dire food circumstances for our region’s most vulnerable. More than 1.6 million New York State students qualify for free or reduced-price school lunch. In the 2017-2018 academic year, 56,986 public school students in the Mid-Hudson Valley received meal assistance.
Luckily many Hudson Valley food pantries, family services, and just plain good-Samaritans are stepping up during the COVID-19 crisis to ensure meals are safely prepared and distributed to keep feed our neighbors in need. Whether you’re looking for meal assistance or want to contribute support, here are some local resources helping to keep the children and families of the Hudson Valley fed.
If you hear of other organizations organizing meal assistance, please leave a comment below or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ulster County has secured more than $2 million in funding toward Project Resilience, a food distribution effort to support residents and local businesses. The county is partnering with United Way and area organizations to mobilize food delivery, and their GoFundMe page aims to raise $5 million, roughly the cost of a week’s groceries for everyone in the county. For more information, or to request meal assistance, visit ulstercountyny.gov/projectresilience.
Cherries Ice Cream Bar & Grill
Cherries Ice Cream Bar & Grill is offering free kids’ meals to Rondout Valley children Monday through Friday from 11 am-3 pm. Options include chicken tenders, grilled cheese, or peanut butter and jelly with French fries or fruit and a juice box or water. Order for pickup by calling 845-706-2466 or through their website. Children need not be present. To donate to this cause, find Cherries on Venmo at @cherriesstoneridge; they are also accepting donations of juice boxes.
LODGER | Newburgh
Hudson Youth Department
The Hudson Youth Department is creating food packages to ensure children who depended on breakfast and lunch within the Hudson School District have access to nutritious meals while school is closed. The Friends of Hudson Youth Food Bank is currently accepting donations to ensure these costs remain covered. To donate or to receive services, email Peter Frank or call (917) 748-4662.
Woodstock Reformed Church
The Woodstock Reform Church is serving as a hub for several area organizations. The Table at Woodstock is offering meal and grocery pickup for Onteora School District residents in front of the church on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays from 4-6 pm (or until they run out). Seniors and individuals in self-quarantine qualify for meal delivery. Those in need can contact email@example.com or message through Facebook. Town of Woodstock residents are encouraged to register via the Town Supervisor’s Office for delivery, grocery boxes, and check-in calls. Volunteers and donations of funds or Hannaford gift cards are needed.
Kingston Food Co-Op
The Kingston Food Co-op started a GoFundMe page so they could purchase food from local farms to provide Family of Woodstock and Kingston-based food pantry People's Place with bagged lunches and hot meals. Their fundraising goal was reached in seven hours and has more-than doubled. Each additional dollar will go to organizations working to feed those in need.
A coalition of Westchester chefs led by Eric Korn—owner of Good-Life Gourmet catering in Irvington—are organizing restaurants to join their cause of cooking one million gallons of soup for regional communities. Known as the Million Gallons operation, they’re raising money through GoFundMe and partnering with local food pantries to distribute fresh or frozen soup. Find updates on their website. Restaurants can register online to help.
Food Bank of the Hudson Valley
The Food Bank of the Hudson Valley is boosting its school BackPack Programs, filling lunch bags for vulnerable children and their families, as well as setting up distribution centers. Those in need of a local food pantry can access the Food Bank’s online Find Food feature. To contribute financial or volunteer support, visit their website or call (845) 534-5344.
Hudson Valley School DistrictsPublic school districts in the Hudson Valley are providing free breakfast and lunch for students under 18. Please visit to your district's individual website for details.
Hudson City School District
Middletown City Schools
Rondout Valley School District
Wallkill School District
Valley Central School District
Warwick Valley School District
Washingtonville School District