Pawling Resource Center Helps Neighbors with Food and Transportation – and More

by Susan Stone

Once a month, the Program Committee of the Pawling Resource Center (PRC) meets to discuss the progress of services that will better the lives of those in need in the Greater Pawling community. Meetings are led by Executive Director Terry Ariano and include members of the board, staff, and volunteers.

Among the many topics for discussion at the April meeting was the way in which transportation services, one of the PRC’s signature programs, could improve food access to the Hannaford supermarket in Pawling and the Resource Center’s Food Pantry. The PRC Food Pantry is key program that provides a lifeline to nutritious meal planning for families and individuals. The newest service reported by Terry is the partnership forged between the PRC and The Grand, the nursing and rehabilitative facility in Pawling. This is designed to use The Grand’s van service to assist with bringing residents of the recently opened low-income senior housing, The Hamlet, to Hannaford and the Food Pantry twice a month. Terry recently held a meeting at The Hamlet to present program details. Many of the residents at The Hamlet currently have insufficient access to transportation.

The PRC monthly update meetings also provide statistical information to the committee, which allows this group to monitor the success of various programs. This month, Terry let everyone know that use of the Food Pantry and Homebound delivery services were up significantly.

She was also able to report that the Center was recently the recipient of food from two major food drives. The first drive was conducted by the Pawling Boy Scouts, who picked up, delivered and shelved 1,900 pounds of food items. The second was conducted by John F. Kennedy Catholic High School in Somers, whose Principal, Father Mark G. Vaillancourt, is a Pawling resident. Driver Bob Knapp, also a Pawling resident, delivered 1,600 pounds of food from this drive to the PRC. Additionally, Babies R Us donated fourteen large boxes of brand new baby clothes. These items are quickly reallocated to families who can best use them.

Discussions also range from finding ways to arrange for hospital beds delivered for community members who are recovering at home to additional outreach programs that could be financed through targeted grant writing.

The Pawling Resource Center is always seeking volunteer drivers to assist with transporting residents to medical appointments or food shopping. Volunteers are always welcome to assist in other ways, as well. If interested, please contact Terry Ariano at the Center at 845-855-3459.