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A Helping Hand and a Loaf of Bread in Eastchester

The repair project for the building's exterior is still incomplete and the donations are not coming in at the same level as the past, even though the need is greater today that ever before. But Eastchester Community Action Program area director Charlene T. Lambrecht chooses to focus on the positives.

"We have a very decent community which supports us", Lambrecht said. "We have many friends in the community that help us and God looks out for us too."

Located on Main Street in Tuckahoe, ECAP offers more than a dozen programs to the community ranging from free use of a computer, copier and fax machine to popular after-school programs for kids. One program that gets lots of traffic is the food pantry.

"We have anywhere between 10 and 15 people who come by every day to pick up a loaf of bread or pastry, she said." The freshly baked goodies are donated by Stop & Shop and Starbucks, both in Eastchester. Twice monthly, generally on the second and third Wednesday of the month, the food pantry is open to the public.

On the first Wednesday of each month, perishable items, such as fresh fruits and vegetables are offered. On the following Wednesday, non-perishable items, such as peanut butter, cereals, pasta and rice are available.

"A lot of people in the community are unemployed or underemployed. If we can save them the dollars it would have cost to buy some cereal or pasta, they can use that money towards paying a bill," Lambrecht said.

About 60 percent of her clients these days are seniors. Many are on fixed incomes and the prices on everything food, gas and medicine just keep going up.

The Eastchester School district encouraged voters to bring non-perishable items when they voted recently on the school budget and school board members.

"I am not sure how we started doing it, but we have done it now for about three years," said District spokesperson Maryellen Byrne. "We believed this was a perfect opportunity to participate in the program."

Have you or someone you ever utilized a food pantry? Tell us your story.

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