FEEDHV AND RED HOOK RESPONDS COLLABORATE TO COLLECT FOOD DONATIONS FROM DUTCHESS COUNTY FAIR VENDORS Over 700 Pounds of Donations Delivered to Area Agencies with Food Assistance Programs
HUDSON, NY --- SEPTEMBER 7, 2022 --- As the name implies, Red Hook Responds really steps up when there is need. This week, the organization teamed up with FeedHV for an inaugural event of picking up surplus food from vendors at the Dutchess County Fair to direct to agencies with food assistance programs. On Sunday night, the groups collected over 710 pounds of a variety of food products.
Administered by Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation (HVADC), FeedHV is a regional food rescue and harvesting network operating throughout Dutchess, Orange, Ulster, Columbia, Greene, Putnam and Sullivan counties. It links donors of prepared, but unserved, food and fresh produce with nonprofits and food assistance programs. Through an app-assisted network of food donors, volunteers and feeding agencies, FeedHV facilitates the harvesting, processing and distribution of locally grown or produced agricultural products, shelf-stable food donations and prepared nutritious foods. Among the donors are restaurants, farms, food makers, stores, hotels, institutions and universities – and now the Dutchess County Fair. The food assistance programs include food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters.
At the conclusion of the Fair on Sunday August 28, 12 Red Hook Responds/FeedHV volunteers spread out across the fairgrounds to collect excess food products from vendors who had previously been canvassed earlier in the week and indicated that they may have donations.
Working until around 10:00 pm that night, the volunteers circulated with coolers, and loaded the trays and bags into a trailer which headed back to the cold storage at Red Hook Responds, and then for distribution to agencies.
“While we canvassed the vendors earlier in the week, this was the first year for the food pick-up program, and since the event was just coming back after the pandemic it was a little difficult to pre-calculate attendance and inventory. There really wasn’t any way to know what would be donated at the end, but it was a great response” said Jeung-il Tsumagari, Executive Director, Red Hook Responds.
In all, more than 20 vendors made donations, which included various produce (lettuce, corn, potatoes, garlic, scallions, cucumbers, lemons, carrots, celery, tomatoes, onions, Brussels sprouts,), prepared pastas and rice, various breads and rolls, cheeses, eggs, jelly, sausages, macaroni salad, dumplings, and cooked meats such as sliced deli meats, roast beef, brisket, BBQ chicken, sausages, and pork.
“It is evident that the food vendors manage their inventory quite tightly and many are moving directly onto another event, so there is little waste to begin with,” said Mary Ann Johnson, Deputy Director of HVADC, who also participated in the event as a FeedHV volunteer along with her husband. “But the vendors were very generous in giving mostly perishables as well as already prepared products,” she continued.
Back at Red Hook Responds, the donations were being organized for distribution, and in the coming days, FeedHV volunteers transported to some to Community Housing Innovations, Community Family Development and Hope on a Mission in Poughkeepsie, and Willow Roots in Pine Plains.
Volunteering for the Red Hook Responds and FeedHV teams was a family affair. Among the crew were three generations of the Beck family, three members of the Tomey family and two members of Johnson’s family helping out.
“This was a great first year’s effort, and a terrific start to a new tradition here in the Hudson Valley,” said Deborah Aschmann, Concessions, Vendors & Partnerships, for the Dutchess Country Fair. “Maybe it’s an idea that other fairs will pick up as well.”
This year’s Dutchess County Fair featured approximately 100 food vendors across the fairgrounds, including the Grange, 4H and Midway areas. However, many are not suited to participate in a FeedHV collection, such as those whose primary business is to serve alcoholic beverages or frozen or other confections.
“Given that this was our first collaboration with the Fair, there were many lessons learned in terms of logistics and timing,” reported Johnson. “We are certainly looking forward to FeedHV leading this effort again at the 2023 Fair,” she said.
To learn more about FeedHV, its donor and volunteer programs, visit www.feedhv.org. To become a food donor, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. To make a monetary donation to FeedHV, visit https://www.feedhv.org/donate-today.
About FeedHV For the past five years, FeedHV has been operating as a regional food rescue and harvesting network in New York’s Hudson Valley, linking donors of prepared but unserved food and fresh produce to nonprofits with food assistance programs. The program is administered by Hudson Valley AgriBusiness Development Corporation (HVADC). For additional information, visit www.feedhv.org.
About Red Hook Responds Red Hook Responds coordinates, enhances and supports the existing and new volunteer efforts in the Red Hook area. It harnesses volunteers in a centralized location where people work together to maximize the programs already in place. Among its many food assistance program, it operates a food exchange, connecting local farms with pantries, processes food for distribution to agencies, operates Red Hook Eats, a dinner delivery service for its neighbors and offers a pantry bag program for those in need. www.redhookresponds.org.
About The Dutchess County Fair The Fair is produced by the Dutchess County Agricultural Society Inc., a non-profit organization dedicated to showcase, promote and sustain agriculture through education, display, competition and community involvement. Its vision is a society actively engaged in the pursuit and promotion of our rural and agricultural heritage, from neighborhood back yards to family farms and commercial enterprises. Today, the largest agricultural 6-day fair in New York State has a physical plant that is recognized as one of the most beautiful in the country. 2022 marks the 176th Dutchess County Fair, which will feature over 1,000 individual exhibitors showcasing everything from cows, horses, pigs, chickens, sheep, and goats to jams, jellies, quilts and fine arts for the Dutchess County Fair. www.dutchessfair.com