By Nancy Randall
HOPE: We have all seen the rainbow signs delcaring hope for our nation during this pandemic and Hudson has not just a symbol of hope, but the real thing. Hope for many hundreds of Columbia and Greene county residents in a non-descript, small building on Third and Allen streets in Hudson. That’s right, The Salvation Army soup kitchen in Hudson is where hope, love, encouragement and msot of all hot meals and groceries for hungry families to take home to families and friends in need of food in this trying time.
The Salvation Army’s amazing director and volunteers have stepped up three fold to answer the needs of our population not only to those who have received aid before, but also now to many new patrons who can no longer afford to feed their families after having lost their jobs to this pandemic. Although they can no longer feed hot meals in a sit down dining area, hot meals are served every day in take out form. In the past about 20 to 30 hot meals were served every day, but the need is so great that betweeen 70 and 80 meals are served every day.
Our community has rallied behind them and volunteers have joined their group as many of our regular people are vulnerable and cannot attend. Besides cooking and serving meals these volunteers deliver meals and groceries to the elderly or immune compromised as well as helping to distribute 50 boxes of groceries three times a week where food can be picked up 8-10 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. On Fridays, they partner with the Department of Social Services and provide 80 bags of food for the homeless living in hotels or the community.
As you can see, The Salvation Army is working hard to help our citizens survive and this couldn’t be done without the selfless volunteers who spend hours helping others. They are sincerely missing the volunteers who are with them throughout the year, Jim Kisniski, Faye Lott, Jay Mueller, Carol Peckham, Lisa Cartalano and Jessica Porter and who hope to be back in safer times. Charlie Proper and Lori Weaver have stayed with us and are an integregal part of our team. We have thankfully picked up many new citizens who want to help. Some of the amazing people who have joined the crew are Marcy Groll, general manager Goodness Ventures. Marcy was one of the bell ringers who asked if we needed a chef and she and Paula Millar have been cooking every Monday, Wednesday and Friday since the middle of March. Marcy let some local chefs know about our needs and they stepped up to the plate. Jamie Parry, executive chef at Swoon and John Car Chef and owner of Le Perche have been cooking every Thursday and Stephen Henderson, author of 24 Hour Soup Kitchen has been cooking every Tuesday and he also generously donated 100 pounds of groceries. Kathy Allen comes in to help pack the 80 bags for the homeless.
Since the space is so small, the food needed now could not be stored in the building, so another generous community member, Tim Alvarez of Storage from A to Z donated a mobile storage unit to store non-perishable foods. Thank you, Tim.
No one has any idea of what a complex, demanding and tiring job this is and an extreme amount of thanks and credit must go to Darcy Connor and her assistant, Ria Everts for tackling this immense undertaking for the community. Darcy has been director for less than a year and she has done an amazing job of running this program. She deserves a huge thank you and job well done.
Donations are always welcome whether it be monetary, volutneering or food. Whatever you can do to help the less fortunate in this time of need is graciously aprpeciated. Call 518-822-1602 for information.
Nancy Randall is a resident of Hudson. She is a salesperson at Red Apple Reality in Claverack and a board member at the Hudson Salvation Army.