Irondequoit Community Cupboard, Inc.
The Irondequoit Community Cupboard, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization designed to meet a variety of needs for families and individuals in the Town of Irondequoit, NY.
“To provide emergency assistance to Irondequoit residents with dignity, kindness and without prejudice.”
"To raise awareness of the presence and impact of hunger and poverty in our
community. We envision a community where all people share resources to ensure
that residents’ basic needs are met in times of limited resources.
We advocate for and reach out to those in need and try to influence public policy so that every person in our community has the necessary support and resources to enhance nutrition, health and welfare.”
If you are in need of
assistance, please call (585) 336-9107.
(no appointments are made online)
Distribution Hours (BY
Tuesday & Saturday from 9:30AM - 11:00AM.
Office Hours (BY PHONE ONLY)
Monday & Wednesday 9:00AM - 4:00PM
"Letter from the President"
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
This holiday season will mark the 20th anniversary of the beginning of the Irondequoit Community Cupboard. 20 years ago this November, myself, along with Kelly Hill and Cherie Sutton worked with the Ivan Green Elementary School and the PTA to reach families that were struggling to make ends meet. These families often had difficulty paying their rent or mortgage, utility bills and food let alone having enough resources to provide their family with gifts for the holidays. Some families had enough money to provide the basic minimum for their household but didn’t have anything extra to spend on gifts or new, warm clothes. While volunteering, we saw children who often times didn’t have hats, gloves or boots so they wouldn’t be allowed to play outside with their friends during recess or would stand shivering in the cold while waiting for their bus. I remember having lunch with my son and sitting next to another little boy who said his mom lost her job so there wasn’t going to be a Christmas this year. I remember volunteering in a classroom while children were happily talking about all of the gifts they received from Santa and seeing kids kind of shrink to the back of the room or put their head down so as not to be noticed because they didn’t want anyone to know that they didn’t have Christmas this year. Can you imagine telling your child that there wasn’t going to be any presents this year?
Something needed to be done so we asked teachers and the school secretary to find out which families needed help for the holidays. What started out of my kids playroom, where we coordinated items for a small number of families, expanded to my garage and basement as the number of families grew each year. People thought I was crazy to have all of this in my tiny little house and how could we do all of this at such a busy time of year. We didn’t do it alone and believe me, my husband had the patience of a Saint to put up with me during this time, haha. We would get 2 U-Hauls donated, he coordinated the map and 2-3 of us would be in one truck that held the food and 2-3 of others would follow behind in the other truck which contained the gifts. We travelled throughout our town distributing all of these goodies to families that had provided us with requests. We asked friends and family members to help purchase these gifts, warm clothes and food. Food not just for the holiday meal but also to help out over the Christmas break. It was a crazy time but always well worth the energy and hard work seeing the smiles on the faces of the families as they saw the abundant gifts they were receiving. It meant the world to me to know that so many more people were going to be able to enjoy the holidays. But it wasn’t enough. I started to wonder, what about the rest of the year? How do these families get the help they need? What about senior citizens? What about people with disabilities living on a sparse income?
The Irondequoit Community Cupboard wasn’t even a name back then but several of us knew there was a need that wasn’t being filled in our community. 20 years ago Irondequoit was one of the only towns in the county that did not have its own food pantry to serve residents in need of assistance. If someone needed help they were often turned away because they didn’t live in the right service area. I couldn’t believe that in a town that had so much, neighbors were literally struggling to keep the heat on or a roof over their heads. Or making the painful decision of not purchasing medicine so they could provide food to their children. How was this possible?
We knew we had a lot more work to do and more town to cover but that didn’t prove to be easy; it took many years to be able to convince others that this was a need our town was not providing for. How could we ignore the growing problem that was right here in front of us? These were our neighbors. Word was spreading about what we were trying to accomplish, but so did the number of people needing assistance. We needed to become a nonprofit and we needed to find and purchase our own building so that we could do the work that needed to be done to help our residents. It took several years and I can never thank Assemblyman Joe Morelle (now Majority Leader) and Senator Jim Alesi for all of their help in securing funding for half of a building and the renovations needed to allow us to make repairs on the old church that we purchased. The town’s CDBG funding helped with the other half of the money to purchase the building and all of YOU have helped us maintain our building to provide services to help our community. This is what “Neighbors Helping Neighbors” was all about. We have persevered through some rough times to get where we are today and I cannot thank those lifelong friends of mine, our board members who helped us to form what is now known as the Irondequoit Community Cupboard; Cherie Sutton, Kelly Hill, Sarah Culp, Diane McHale-Mix and Reverend Jeff Printy. I need to thank all of our current board members, Sue Reynolds, John Kane, Maryjo Toepfer, Sarah Culp, Cherie Evans, Anne Johnson, John Cortinas, and Lisa Loeser. These people work very hard all year long and don’t get the recognition they deserve. Last but not least, I need to thank all of you, for all that you have done to “Help us Help others” who continue to struggle in our community.
I am telling you this now because not all of you know how we got started and how hard it was to get where we are now. Often times people take it for granted that there will always be “someone else” to help take care of the senior citizens, adults with disabilities, children, veterans and families, but we know this may not be true. It takes a lot of dedication and the kindness of (mostly) strangers to keep our doors open and for this, we are so grateful.
Foodlink and United Way of Rochester partnered with Hunger in America to do a study about hunger in our area. They found:
50% of households chose between paying for food and paying for medical expenses once in the past 12 months.
21% of households exhausted monthly SNAP benefits (food stamps) after two weeks
72% of households purchased inexpensive, unhealthy food as a coping strategy
56% of agencies reported an increase in the volume of clients compared to the prior year *
We have seen an increase of over 240% over 5 years from our senior citizens. We have seen an increase of over 30% in the number of households who visit us. Most of our clients are single parent households and/or have a disabled adult as their head of household. ALL of them run out of food stamps, (SNAP) receive the minimum of $16 or don’t receive them at all. We need your help for our most vulnerable. We need your help to provide food and taxable items month to month, all year long. It was a long summer and we still haven’t fully recovered from the lack of every day donations that we need to distribute during the week. We need your help for our weekend backpack program which is currently providing food in 7 of our elementary schools for children over the weekend from homes that often dont know where their next meal is coming from. We need your help now to plan for the holidays.
We are in the process of our holiday sign-ups now. The deadlines are as follows:
Thanksgiving Saturday November 7th from 11am-12pm
Special Santa Program Saturday November 14th from 11am-12pm
Holiday Basket Tuesday December 1st from 11am-12pm
If you know someone who is in need of these programs please encourage them to come in and sign up soon. All sign ups are DONE IN PERSON. They will need a current month’s bill for every adult in the household or a current lease to show residency. If you coordinate these programs with your church or school or organization, please encourage them to make their referrals as soon as possible.
The costs of turkeys and chickens are up quite a bit from last year because of the bird flu. Several stores wont even take large orders for them this year. We are purchasing all of our chickens and turkeys through Herremas Marketplace on Pattonwood Drive. We love to support our local businesses and if you can help us with our mission, we would be extremely grateful. I will begin putting together the Special Santa list on Sunday November 15th and hopefully will have the list distributed by Monday afternoon. If you would like to sponsor a family, keep an eye out for this list, our message on Facebook, or contact me around then.
December 1st is Roc The Day!! For 24 hours we will participate in the annual Roc the Day Campaign to raise money for our organization. This is done through United Way and we will be reaching you mostly through Facebook, email blasts and word of mouth. J Our goal this year is $1,500
People often ask “What do you need?” There are several items we have either run out of on a regular basis or items we have run low on; they are as follows:
•Canned pasta meals, stew, chili or hash
•Chunky style beef vegetable soup
•Red and black beans
•Any tomato products
•1 pound bags of white and brown rice
•Macaroni and cheese
•Tomato and chicken noodle soups
•Grape and strawberry jelly
•Peanut butter (both smooth and crunchy)
· Oatmeal (especially old fashioned)
•Healthy snacks for the backpack program
•Small fruits for the backpacks program
•100% juice boxes for the backpack program
•Individual portion size cereal and oatmeal for the backpack program
You may also go to our website at www.irondequoitcommunitycupboard.org to see our current lists and also under the “how you can help” section, you can see what is needed for our holiday baskets. IF you think you will be donating large items of food (especially chickens and turkeys) for our baskets, please let me know so that I can (try) and plan accordingly.
I will be sending out a separate email for our monthly thank you’s this month so look for it soon. Thank you so much to all of you who continue to support us, we are very grateful for your continued support and assistance.
Debbie Evans, President
Sue Reynolds, Vice-President
John Kane, Treasurer
MaryJo Toepfer, Secretary
Cherie Evans, Board Member
Rev. Sarah Culp, Board Member
Anne Johnson, Board Member
John Cortinas, Board Member
Lisa Loeser, Board Member