These past 15 months, no matter how “hard” or “easy” any of us had it, we’ve learned a lot. Good stuff even. Our learning, you could say, has been one of the pandemic’s silver linings. To acknowledge some of those Silver Learnings, we’ve invited friends from different walks of life to share what they’ve learned from the pandemic. Our guess is you’ll hear some voices that sound like your own, and some that offer a window into a world you’ve not known but from which we can all now learn.
Molly Rodriguez has been a licensed clinical social worker since 1990, operating a private practice out of her home in Dobbs Ferry. She now works in the field of immigration, helping undocumented immigrants become permanent residents of the United States. She was also the Director of the Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry at South Presbyterian Church from 2011 until this past April, which was a rewarding, heartwarming (but exhausting) experience. Molly writes …
The Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry has been serving 30-40 families a week, serving Dobbs Ferry, Ardsley, Irvington and Greenburgh, New York, since 2011. I’ve been very happily running the pantry since then. When the pandemic began, our numbers exploded. A couple of weeks ago we served 175 families, a 425% increase. Running the pantry has turned into a full-time job.
What has amazed me since March 2020 has been the outpouring of charity and good will from groups and individuals throughout the Rivertowns (including the Dreskins’ temple, Woodlands!). My heart has been warmed by the tremendous number of donations, both edible and monetary, from people of all stripes. Churches, synagogues, clubs, scouts – everyone searched for a way to help the hungry families who came to the pantry.
And it’s still going on! Just about every week we serve from 130-160 families, and we’re still receiving help from generous people everywhere.
The two things that stand out for me as the pandemic seems to be winding down are: the shocking amount of need in these towns; and, the mind-boggling outpouring of love and caring from all the people who live here who just want to help.
Running the pantry became so overwhelming that I decided to retire so that I could concentrate on my work with undocumented immigrants. It was a good time to retire, because I’ve been replaced by two younger, more energetic and tech-savvy co-directors who will carry the pantry forward as long as it’s needed. It’s been an uplifting growth experience to be the director of a food pantry, and I know the new co-directors will feel the same way.
Molly Rodriguez, former director
The Dobbs Ferry Food Pantry at South Presbyterian Church