Making a Difference

Philipstown Food Pantry

We are Godís hands to supply food for the hungry

The Philipstown Food Pantry is a mission of the First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown. It started over 30 years ago on the pastors' porch and has grown ever since. It is organized by the Board of Deacons and supervised by the Session. It continues to be a dependable source of grocery supplies each week to those in our community who are in need of assistance. We feel blessed to be able to offer a helping hand to all of our neighbors in need. With rapidly rising food and energy prices, these are difficult times for many families.

If you are looking to make a difference and want to see what we do, just stop in one Saturday morning between 9 and 10 AM.

There are approximately 50 families registered at the Food Pantry. People hear about the Food Pantry in various ways: through the Department of Social Services, through friends and neighbors, ads and newspaper articles, and also when they notice the Food Pantry Shopping List at Foodtown.

Would you like to help your community in a meaningful way?

Our doors are open each Saturday from 9 to 10 AM and approximately 25 families come each week to "shop" for food. We have everything set up for them when they come and try to assist them if they need help or are looking for a particular item. Sometimes they may also ask for personal help or advice and we do our best to guide them in finding the assistance they need. Once the families leave, we work together to put away all of the food that is left and refill the carts for the next week.

It takes a whole community to support the Food Pantry and many to keep it going.

We are grateful for:

  • Foodtown of Cold Spring for their donations of hams, turkeys and roasting chickens for the holidays, their ongoing everyday support, and for the "Community Rewards Program".
  • Philipstown Farm Market and Vera Giorano, who generously contributes fruits and vegetables.
  • Grey Printing and many other businesses on Main Street for maintaining a year-round donation jar which collects monetary donations for the Food Pantry.
  • Charlie Merando, Tom Murphy, Jeff Toland and Ray Ruckel, who helped us over the last few years by picking up thousands of pounds of groceries at the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley, in Cornwall on Hudson.
  • "The Bread Run": A team of volunteers help by picking up day-old bakery goods and produce from Foodtown and Super Stop'n'Shop in Peekskill: These volunteers include Dan Dillon, Peter Giunta, Mike Bell, Peter Bach, Rick Patterson, Paul Lansdale, Jeff Toland, Claire Ruckel, Mike Musso, Mitch Dul, and many more.
  • The local Communities of Faith: Our Lady of Loretto Parish, the United Methodist Churches of Cold Spring and South Highland, St. Mary's and St. Philip's Episcopal Churches, the Cold Spring Baptist Church and the Philipstown Reform Synagogue, and of course the First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown offer invaluable support to our Food Pantry.
  • The "Venison Donation Program",the Garrison Fish and Game Club and Chris Golde for his leadership and support.
  • AND we especially depend on all of the members of our community who make donations to the Philipstown Food Pantry!

Thank you for your support!

There are many different ways you might be able to help:

  • Sign up to volunteer, just one Saturday at the Food Pantry.
  • Maybe you are not able to help on Saturday morning, but could help us pick up groceries at the Hudson Valley Food Bank in Cornwall.
  • You have a special skill or an amazing idea that you would like to share and help us with our task. Contact the Food Pantry Coordinator, or the church office.
  • You are the leader of a youth group, an organization, or a family who wants to make a difference. You could organize a food and/or fund drive.
  • You are a wonderfully talented gardener and have so much, that you don't know what to do with all the fruits and vegetables! You could bring them to the Food Pantry on Saturday morning for distribution to our clients.
  • Simply give a grocery or monetary donation to the Food Pantry.
  • If you are a student, and have to get community service hours for school, the Philipstown Food Pantry might be the right thing for you.

Whenever we have perishable items donated, we try to hand all of it out that Saturday. Sometimes it is more than we need. We try to freeze what we can and take the rest to St. Christopher's Inn and / or the Walter Hoving Home in Garrison. We want to assure you that nothing that can be used is wasted. Everything that is donated will mainly be used by the Philipstown Food Pantry and may be passed on to other charitable organizations in Philipstown/Putnam County only.

If you would like to make a difference and help the Philipstown Food Pantry, or have a question, just contact us at 845-265-3220 or

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Habitat for Humanity

PresbyBuild (Habitat for Humanity): First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown is teamed with 11 Presbyterian churches in the Hudson Valley committed to a program to build affordable housing for the community of Newburgh, NY. We provide a team of approximately 12 volunteers to work on a Saturday morning to contribute to the construction effort to build these homes. As a part of the PresbyBuild organization, we are currently building our third home. You do not need to be skilled to participate and we can guarantee you that you will share in the camaraderie and when any work day is finished you will feel a definite sense of accomplishment. Come join us.

The most exciting part of this is our partner house, the Presbybuild house on E Parmenter St. The existing structure on the site was demo'd and the concrete foundation still needs to be removed by an excavator. Once this step has been accomplished, and the new construction manager for Habitat is on board, we will be working regularly on this site.
Anticipated dates are: September 13 and November 22. (Confirmation to follow)


We serve on the first Wednesday of the month. Our church community participates in a free lunch program sponsored by the Peekskill Area Pastors' Association, an interfaith organization, PAPA for short. Lunch is provided for the needy at the Salvation Army Dining room in Peekskill. The Salvation Army also provides administrative and financial support for the project.

The numbers served vary according to the season and the weather, but about 70 to 80 people are served Monday through Friday at the dining hall.

I used the words "church community" instead of just "church" in describing our participation because the effort behind the project extends beyond our congregation. In fact most of our cooks for the project are not members of the congregation and are from a variety of faiths...or no faith. Ingredients for the meals come largely from our food pantry...donations for which come from all sorts of folk in Philipstown. And best of all…well, tastiest of all…one of our congregants has organized a dessert program run by more diverse hands from our community. They pick up scrumptious but day old pastries, cakes and bread from local markets and we send it down to the soup kitchen. Oohs and aahs greet the delivery of the desert specials.

I think the PAPA project is religion at its best. It serves as a magnifying glass, focusing the energies of a diverse community to start a fire...a cook fire in this case.

We serve the first Wednesday and the 4th Friday. Cooking is always the day before at 6:30 PM. Deliveries are made the day of, departing Cold Spring at about 10:30 AM. Delivery help is always appreciated!

If anyone is interested in helping out, feel free to call me at 845-838-3890.

Pick Up & Drop Off Squad

This service is just what it sounds like! We have a group of 14 volunteers who pick up food from local suppliers (Super Stop & Shop and Food Town) and in turn bring the food to various clients in the area who are in need of produce and baked goods. Our two main clients are St. Christopher's Inn and Walter Hoving Home. If you have some extra time to spare, this is a wonderful opportunity to "Make a Difference."

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First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown - Midnite Run October 2008Midnight Run

Twice a year we at the First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown gather clothing, food and coffee to provide to the homeless in NYC beginning at 10:30 pm and ending somewhere around 4:00 am. We travel in a group of about 12 including some youth and usually make about seven stops to distribute our items and to talk with the people. This experience is life changing for anyone who attends. Please come and join us as we try to lend a helping hand to our neighbors.

We will be scheduling a midnight run to street people in NYC in the Fall and in the Spring. We need to acquire donations of clothing and, when it gets closer, food for the bag lunches and soup. The clothing sorting and lunch preparation will be during the day, and The Run at night.

Bridges to Community

First Presbyterian Group returns from successful Nicaragua Mission Trip

A group of 6 from the First Presbyterian Church of Philipstown in Cold Spring went to Nicaragua this summer as part of a mission trip. They spent a week building a home in the village of Ticuantepe. The local congregation has supported the trip with their prayers, with donations of items for the Nicaraguan children and by assisting some of the group members financially.

Some of those going on the trip included the Rev. Leslie Mott, Ron Sopyla, Lynn and Norm Brown, Wendy and Emily Ordway. The group of 14, which also included people from Nauraushaun Presbyterian Church in Pearl River, New Hempstead Presbyterian Church in New City and a church in Woodstock, NY, traveled under the auspices of Bridges to Community.

Nicaragua Mission TripBridges to Community, Inc. is a nonprofit community development organization that takes volunteers to developing countries to work, learn and reflect. Through the process of living and working with local communities on construction, health and environmental projects, Bridges promotes cross-cultural learning, a deepening awareness of our global interdependence and a commitment to the common good.

Bridges to Community has been operating in Ticuantepe since 2002. We have constructed one school and over 150 houses for families living in material poverty in four of the eighteen communities in the municipality.

Ticuantepe produces ninety percent of the pineapples for all of Nicaragua, some twenty-seven million pineapples. As a result of pineapple production, over half of Ticuantepe remains rural, yet is located only fourteen kilometres from the capital of Nicaragua, Managua. However, due to seed quality that is considered inferior in the international market, Nicaraguan pineapples remain a domestic product instead of a lucrative export.

Ticuantepe mostly consists of humid sub-tropical forest, and nearby Volcan Masaya has blessed the region with rich volcanic soil but also cursed it with frequent acid rain. Deforestation and low agricultural production levels are two of the problems most seriously effecting the municipality.

Ticuantepe also sits atop the largest aquifer in Central America, which provides water for one quarter of the Nicaraguan population. Even still, Ticuantepenos often live without running water for days at a time due to insufficient infrastructure.

While Ticuantepe serves as a suburb for Managua, its population remains small at twenty-four thousand total inhabitants and is plagued by many of the same problems as rural communities. In fact, over sixty percent of the population in Ticuantepe live in rural and semi-rural communities. A third of children do not attend elementary school and by high school only a half of young people are studying with even less graduating. As a result, nearly a quarter of the population remains illiterate.

The municipality has one hospital with fifteen beds, four doctors, eleven nurses, and irregular ambulance service. Nevertheless, the hospital runs on a socialist model that provides free care to all, including foreigners. To find out more visit the website

What is the Friendly League?

The Friendly League is the womenís group of the church that was started many years ago. They used to meet socially about once a month with tea & homemade cookies and cake. They usually had a rummage/bake sale every year and gave the proceeds to the church. In lean years this was sometimes the difference of the church staying open.

Over the following years it has evolved into a yearly Harvest Sale.

From the proceeds of this Harvest Sale the women with their efforts have refurbished the library with new furniture, paid for the food pantry cabinets in the kitchen, paid for the new front doors & have refinished them, bought the artificial wreaths for the sanctuary & outside, purchased the metal table & many of the pots, pans & utensils in the kitchen, donated money to Philipstown Concerts, paid for $6,000 of the cost of the new driveway & many other things too numerous to mention.

At the sale we sell homemade baked goods such as pies, cakes, candy, cookies, bread, quiche, etc. We also usually have books, holiday items & handmade goods.

We need your help! In order to continue to enhance the building & life of the church we need people who like to cook to donate homemade goods to the sale.

Inspiration Garden

Nicaragua Mission TripThe First Presbyterian Church is the current site of an Inspiration Garden dedicated to providing fresh vegetables to the Food Pantry. Tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, peppers, and basil provide Food pantry participants with healthy additions to the current offerings. The original idea of transforming lawns into food producing gardens was brought to the Church's attention by Carolyn Llewellen, and has been carried out by Tess Dul as her Girl Scout Gold Award Project. The Gold Award is the highest award in Girl Scouting, and requires a sustainable project suited to meet needs of the local community. The goal of the Inspiration Garden is to motivate/encourage others to transform their own lawns as well. Even contributions from a small potted plant are appreciated. The vegetables have been very well received at the pantry and hopefully the project will expand beyond the grounds of the Presbyterian church.

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