RHINEBECK, N.Y. -- In these fiscally challenging times, a person's life circumstances can change in the blink of an eye.
And when jobs are lost or benefits cut, it becomes to feed yourself and your family. That is where the volunteers at the Rhinebeck Pantry at the Church of the Messiah come in.
The pantry, at 6346 Main Street, is open from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Friday, but accommodations can be made for people who can’t make those hours, Parke said.
Parke estimated that the pantry gives out 80,000 pounds of food a year, enough for 37,000 meals.
Last year, the pantry -- which also covers Red Hook, Hyde Park and Staatsburg -- served more than 300 households, or about 1,200 individuals.
Parke said the pantry is a non-sectarian, community-oriented operation, and their volunteers are a “great bunch of people” who focus on hospitality.
“We make coffee and put out snacks. There’s a lot of camaraderie between the volunteers and the people that we serve,” Parke said.
Parke said some clients are regulars while others will come in two or three times.
"In a perfect world, the best solution would to be put ourselves out of business," Parke said.
The volunteers try to make the environment as comfortable as possible. Parke said there can be a certain amount of indignity that can come with visiting a food bank.
“We try to overcome that by being as cheerful and as friendly and as open as we can to them," Parke said. “For a lot of us, it is just a stroke of luck that we’re not on the other side of that table,” she added.
Parke said volunteering helps you get outside of yourself.
“It breaks down a lot of your stereotypes, who you think the people are that find themselves in these situations, the fact is, they’re people like us. It’s not an us and them kind of thing,” she said.
To contact it about volunteering, call (845) 876-3533, or email email@example.com.