PEEKSKILL, N.Y. -- Jeanne Blum spent the past nine years working with Caring For The Homeless Of Peekskill, but earlier this month she began a new job with a very similar mission.
Blum has replaced Rosa Boone-Morgan as executive director of Westchester Coalition for the Hungry and Homeless Inc., a non-profit based in White Plains.
She said that while she is going to miss her staff in Peekskill, her new job will allow her to continue to work as an advocate for Westchester County's neediest residents on a grander scale.
"I'm very excited to be heading up this organization in order to hopefully make a broader impact on the issue of hunger and homelessness," Blum said.
The coalition works to help those in need with food grants for county programs like C.H.O.P. and through initiatives such as their eviction prevention program.
The organization also holds events to raise money and awareness of the issue of homelessness and hunger in the county, such a "Will Dance For Food," a dance performance event that was held in December.
Blum said she was busy getting adjusted to her new role and that she plans to initiate a volunteer/internship program. She also wants to recruit corporate teams looking to volunteer their time. Those interested can call Blum at (914) 682-2737. Information about the coalition can also be found on the company's website, www.foodclothingshelter.org.
A Peekskill resident, Blum started as a volunteer for Caring for the Homeless of Peekskill in 2003 and was named executive director in 2007. She came from a service-oriented family and her father was one of the original founders of the Jan Peek House back in 1988.
"He loved the Jan Peek House and the clients it served and he brought home stories about the people that stayed at the shelter," Blum said. "My mom was a minister at the United Methodist Church for many years. I guess they instilled in me a sense of service to the community and building community."
Before C.H.O.P. Blum ran a marketing firm that served non-profits, including C.H.O.P., and did work for the group's successful Sunny Donut Breakfast Program in 2000.
While her new job is in White Plains, Blum said she had no plans to relocate down county from her home in Peekskill.
"I actually like the commute, it gives me a chance to listen to the radio," Blum said. "Before, my commute was so short I couldn't even listen to a whole song."