GREENBURGH, N.Y. With many homeless families in Westchester County, BOCES is actively helping the community in need by donating food to Westhab, Inc. for Thanksgiving.
Greenburgh's BOCES collected $550 in monetary donations and enough food to result in over 18 large boxes of food for some of the neediest families in the county.
"We were able to get six really complete meals that will be given to the six neediest families," said Maria McGinty, coordinator of the BOCES homeless student program. "Whatever we can do to help those kids because they are really in crisis, especially these days."
Each family will receive a turkey with all of the traditional Thanksgiving fixings, like stuffing, canned vegetables, cranberry sauce and gravy. In addition, the boxes were filled with foods that can be used after the holidays, like ketchup, mayonnaise, salad dressings, fruit drink packets, tea, coffee, hot chocolate, marshmallows, cookies, Jello, sugar, Bisquick, macaroni and cheese, rice, pasta, marinara sauce, olives, tuna, crackers and peanuts.
"Now, it's not the typical homelessness that I dealt with years ago," said McGinty, who has worked with the homeless since 1992. "Homelessness was always about some kind of drug or alcohol abuse, mental illness or domestic violence. The face of homelessness is really different. Now, it's people losing their jobs and losing their apartments and losing their homes with no place to live."
Based on the 2009-2010 reports, there are over 2,000 identified homeless children in Westchester County, McGinty said. She said that she is certain there are undoubtedly more who have yet to be documented.
"We have families that are homeless from all over," she said. "Even in our wealthiest districts, they are now learning how to adapt with homeless families."
Dina Roselli Cochrane, BOCES' secretary to the school administrator, reviewed all of the food donations and portioned them out into six groups. She then took the monetary donations and ransacked the ShopRite in White Plains for the best deals on foods to ensure that each family would get similar items. Roselli Cochrane returned with three car-loads of food, which she designated to the six groups.
Ivan Smith and Jesus Menendez of Westhab were very thankful that BOCES donated so much food to the cause. Each year, BOCES has donated a greater amount of food some years ago, they raised enough to feed two families. This year, they raised more than enough for six. The leftover food that does not fit into the boxes goes to the Westhab pantry.
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