A NEW CARING CUPBOARD IS COMING TO GREENBURGH HEALTH CENTER:
Volunteers & donations welcome in a youth-led initiative to feed our neighbors
Tanya and Ananya Shukla, 15- and 12-year-old sisters at Ardsley High and Middle schools, have made incredible contributions to their neighbors’ health and well-being during this pandemic. Now they would like to bring their efforts to Greenburgh. Their concept of a Caring Cupboard, a simple self-serve food pantry they first introduced in White Plains in February, will be available to the public this spring in the vestibule of the Greenburgh Health Center.
The sisters started their journey in community service in April 2020 as COVID was beginning to hit New York. They launched a $5,000 fundraiser with a friend and from this funding were able to donate over 2,000 meals, 9 gallons of hand sanitizer, and more to various area hospitals and those who were financially struggling. Through this work, Tanya met Michael Heffner, at the forefront of COVID relief with White Plains’ Grace Episcopal Church’s God In Action Food Alliance. She pitched her idea of The Caring Cupboard, a project inspired by the Friendly Fridge project in NYC and an initiative that prioritizes solidarity over charity. With the help of about 10 youth and the support of the church, they built and decorated a cupboard that is stocked with shelf-stable food, household items, and toiletries. The idea is “take what you need, leave what you can,” said Heffner. Since its launch, the Caring Cupboard in White Plains has been a huge success, with people continually donating as well as picking up food. Heffner estimates they feed about 20 families a week from their central location with much foot traffic.
For their next effort, Tanya, who has formed the nonprofit Bridging Dots, seeks financial contributions to buy and assemble a new cupboard at the Greenburgh Health Center in the coming weeks. Donations such as shelf-stable food -- ex. dried food, cans, cereal -- or money to buy the food. Volunteers are also needed to implement food collection drives in their schools, churches, with Girl or Boy Scout troops, or elsewhere; sign up to help install and/or maintain the cupboard; spread the message on social media and with posters; and solicit business sponsors.
“We have seen first-hand people taking food and talking about how the cupboard is impacting them positively,” Tanya said. “We now want to see these same positive effects in Greenburgh. We believe that installing a cupboard at the Greenburgh Health Center will lead to greater outreach and community involvement. With our experiences in creating the White Plains cupboard, we believe that the growth of the Greenburgh one will be a huge success.”
If you have any questions or want to join the effort by volunteering, please contact Tanya at firstname.lastname@example.org or DM her on instagram @bridgingdots. Donations can be made via check with “Caring Cupboard” in the memo to Grace Episcopal Church, 33 Church St, White Plains, NY 10601.