Several Successful Pilot Projects Conceived, Funded, And Run By The Junior League of Northern Westchester Were Subsequently Handed Over To Community Partners. They Continue To Thrive And Serve The Community Today.
Food Insecurity ~ The Junior League of Northern Westchester has been a key player in the battle against food insecurity in our community over the last decade. Our latest program has completed its’ third year – The Food Bank for Westchester’s Kraft Mobile Food Pantry. For the price of a regular grocery shopping trip for your family ($150), the JLNW provides a comparable grocery basket comprised of fresh fruits, vegetables, meats and breads for over 300 individuals once a month.
The Westchester Coalition for Hunger and Homelessness (WCHH) has seen a 30% increase in the number of people seeking food and shelter since 2010. More than 5.5 million meals were served last year in our region. In 2013, 1 in 6 people faced economic insecurity here in the US and 1 and 5 people face food insecurity here in Westchester County.
In the 2015 – 2016 service year, the League continued to focus our efforts on the issue of food insecurity by developing a program around the issue and direct service by working on the following:
- Continue to distribute food through The Food Bank for Westchester’s Kraft Mobile Food Pantry. This specialized 36-foot beverage-style truck brings a “market on wheels” to underserved communities and has refrigeration and freezer units so that fresh, nutritious foods can be delivered directly to those who need it.
- Explore ways in which we can engage in partnerships with organizations sharing a vision of healthy eating for all community members, and working on this issue to help craft, and support ongoing public awareness.
- Research ways in which we can educate school districts or community members around the theme of food insecurity in their own back yards.
- Research and understand current federal and national legislation and proposals addressing the root cause of hunger. Become an advocate for food insecurity issues.
Some of our past initiatives have included, Kids in the Kitchen (KITK), which helped kids learn about healthy foods and lifestyles. We partnered with the Northern Westchester Hospital and Neighbors Link for KITK and transitioned it to them. Backpack Buddies was a project with the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester (BGCNW) where volunteers put together food packs once a month for those families that need assistance. This was transitioned to the BGCNW for 2015.
Backpack Buddies ~ A JLNW initiative since Spring 2010, Backpack Buddies bridges the gap in services for children enrolled in the Boys & Girls Club of Northern Westchester (BGCNW) after-school programs. On a weekly basis throughout the school year, JLNW, in conjunction with the Food Bank for Westchester, provides 110 of the 150 children in the BGCNW after-school programs with non-perishable, easily consumed and vitamin-fortified food to take home on weekends. Addressing hunger among children of working families, JLNW funds and runs this program. It purchases food, packs bags and monitors inventory provided by the food bank.
The Mount Kisco Interfaith Food Pantry (MKIFP) is a volunteer, charitable alliance of 12 churches and synagogues dedicated to fighting hunger in the greater Mount Kisco area. In 2009, JLNW became the first non-religious community service organization to partner with MKIFP, providing volunteers for pantry shifts. MKIFP distributes food twice weekly. Most recipients are working families. The number of households seeking groceries weekly has increased 37% in 2010. Through September 2010, 11,673 individuals have been served. That number is expected to grow to16,377 individuals in early 2011.
Hope’s Door, formerly known as the Northern Westchester Shelter, was founded in part by JLNW in 1989 and renovated by JLNW in 2008. The shelter provides a safe haven for victims of domestic violence. Since 1989, it has sheltered 3,787 women and children and answered 16,000 crisis calls.
Independent Neighborhood Network cultivates relationships among the young, old and in-between through community websites designed for local neighborhoods. JLNW funded, created and organized community networks in 2010 that now are run by neighborhood volunteers.
Done-In-A-Day And Done-In-A-Meeting projects tie into our Issue-Based Community Impact initiatives. They are funded and performed in cooperation with other Westchester leagues on behalf of local chapters of national nonprofits. Current projects are: Project Linus supplies blankets to children who are seriously ill, traumatized or otherwise in need. These colorful blankets offer a sense of security, warmth and comfort at a time when children most need it. This year our members will make approximately 20 fleece blankets which will be donated to the White Plains chapter of Project Linus. The Pajama Program provides new pajamas and books to children in group homes and shelters. This year our members donated approximately 50 pairs of new pajamas and books to support this effort.
Love Shouldn’t Hurt Symposium ~ In 1999, JLNW was a pioneer in educating local high school students about the dangers of abusive relationships. The annual conference continues today at Pace University.
Mount Kisco Child Care Center ~ Established by JLNW in 1971 in cooperation with our community partners, this not-for-profit center provides affordable care to a diverse group of children in a safe, healthy environment.
Muscoot Farm Restoration ~ Restoration of this 19th century farm was led by JLNW in 1986, in anticipation of the farm’s acquisition by Westchester County in 1987. Each year thousands of individuals and families enjoy the agricultural history and hands-on experience of this working farm, which is part of the Westchester County park system.
The Teen Education Center at the Boys and Girls Club of Northern Westchester was established by JLNW as a positive learning environment in 2006.