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Aug. 27, 2021 -- Jamie Brown ’21 knew she wanted to find a way to give back to her alma mater. She just wasn’t sure how. But then a chance conversation with her mom, Luann Brown, who runs the Nifty Thrifty Shop in Fishkill, gave her an idea. The store regularly donates a portion of its profits to local organizations, so how about applying those dollars to an organization that Jamie knew could use the support – the DCC Pantry?
And so, over the summer, the Browns, accompanied by Tina Cianciulli, Nifty Thrifty’s treasurer, stopped at the Pantry and presented a $7,000 check to Lacie Reilly, chair of the Human Services program and manager of DCC’s Pantry operations. For the Browns, the gift was particularly personal. During the early months of the pandemic, the family income had taken such a severe hit that Jamie felt compelled to utilize Pantry services. Now, months later, the family wanted to return the favor, and the check became their way of giving back.
“I am so grateful to Nifty Thrifty for this generous gift,” said Reilly. “It is a real full circle, paying-it-forward story, and a great example of how this program supports students and families. It usually costs around $6,000 per semester to ensure that the Pantry is fully stocked. This check will ensure that the 2021-22 year gets off to a great start.”
The DCC Pantry started in fall 2017 and is open year-round: Monday and Thursday from noon to 5 p.m. and noon to 4 p.m. on Fridays during the fall and spring semesters, and by appointment during the summer. Stocking items such as shelf-stable food, including canned vegetables, assorted pastas and rice, and fresh and frozen vegetables and meats, the Pantry also offers toiletries and baby items, and supports a weekend food backpack program for children at the Louis Greenspan Day Care Center.
“We saw a significant uptick in the number of requests coming into the Pantry this past year,” said Reilly. “And with the generous support of our friends and supporters, we were able to distribute close to 10,000 items, almost 7,000 lbs. of food, and 800 lbs. of produce, not to mention putting together 12 -15 backpacks every week for 28 weeks. I predict that we are going to see similar need – possibly greater – this year.”
Supported through the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley and planned giving and fundraising activities through the DCC Foundation, Reilly expects to bolster those efforts by holding even more drives this year.
“I am always impressed by the generosity of the College community,” said Reilly. “When we ask, DCC staff, faculty, students, alumni and friends, without fail, step up to ensure that we can serve all those in need.”
The Pantry, which hosted its first drive during the College convocation on Aug. 19, accepts drop-off donations at its location in room 114, Dutchess Hall during open hours. Curbside pick-up can be arranged by appointment. Support for The Pantry can also be made through the DCC Foundation website.