FOOD EQUITY DRIVE

Restoring dignity and widening equitable access to food across our community. 

Dutchess Outreach works to widen community food security and food sovereignty, increase advocacy, and provide emergency relief by offering a range of vital programs for those in need to ensure that equitable physical and economic access to safe, nutritious, culturally appropriate, and sustainably grown food is available at all times across our community, regardless of income or zip code.

Our industry needs to pivot in a way that can help us help our community at scale and in a way that does not remove the dignity, beauty, or value from our meal times, from our connections with each other, and from the production of our food. 

Can you help us lead this transformation by supporting our Food Equity Drive?

Contribute here. 

How it works

 

Dutchess Outreach has operated emergency food access and relief programs in Dutchess County for more than 47 years. Food Banks and Food Access Organizations are a fairly recent addition to our American Social Aid infrastructure and when they were first initiated, they were done so as a short-term solution to fill what they believed to be a temporary emergency need.

In 2021, Food Banks and Food Access Organizations like Dutchess Outreach continue to help fill in the gaps, that is, the challenges that individuals and families face in fulfilling their most basic needs that have been exacerbated by widening income inequality. Now, in the face of a global pandemic and community crisis, our food access programs are needed more than ever. We’re seeing some clients who haven’t had the need to visit our pantry in over 20 years and we are meeting new visitors every day. The hardship our community is now faced with has left many with no other option. 

 

Our industry needs to pivot to help us help our community at scale and in a way that does not remove the dignity, beauty, or value from our meal times, from our connections with each other, and from the production of our food. 

 

PHASE ONE: Increasing Access to Healthy, Local Foods.

The Dutchess Outreach Fresh Market is a farmers’ market managed by Dutchess Outreach that sells Hudson Valley fruits, vegetables, and other local goods at affordable prices.

Through the operation of this program, we have cultivated close connections with our Hudson Valley Farmers. These relationships are critical in ensuring that we are getting the best quality foods out into our community and that our clients feel that they are a part of our beautiful local food system. These relationships don’t only benefit our clients, they bring incredible benefit to our local farmers-helping them irrigate communities with fresh foods.

Additionally, on the Dutchess Outreach Urban Farm, we’re growing food for our food access programs right in the center of the City of Poughkeepsie. By growing our own food, we’re growing community food security, increasing the availability of fresh local food for all.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PHASE TWO: Restoring Dignity and Choice.

 

This shopping cart represents a step in a new direction for the Dutchess Outreach Pantry – a place where people can now come to select the food they want and need!

Driven by the feedback we receive from the people who come to us for food assistance, and an army of forward-thinking staff and volunteers, we have been making steady improvements to all areas of our programs. Whether you volunteer with us or donate to the organization (or both), we want you to know about all of the work we have done together, as well as an idea of what we are imagining next.

While we operate several different food and emergency relief programs, the most significant transformations are now taking place in the Food Pantry and the community meal program known affectionately as The Lunch Box.

PHASE THREE: Shifting the Paradigm.

Throughout the pandemic, the Food Pantry and Lunch Box never stopped providing their critical resources of groceries and prepared meals. The Lunch Box immediately shifted its delivery model from a dine-in to a take-out method. Since COVID restrictions have been lifted we are often asked about when we will return to a dine-in model.  The answer to that question is that we are still trying to figure that out.

Over the past year, we have served the same (or more) people than years without indoor dining restrictions.  That is, the take-out model has not had a negative impact on the number of people who come.  However, we understand that people dined with us for more than the food.  There was a camaraderie and togetherness that was supportive to many, but not to all.  We have been focused heavily on finding ways to hold on to the best parts of the dine-in model, while also providing a trauma-informed environment where all people feel safe and comfortable.

We are meeting with people who come to us for our prepared meals to best understand what they consider the most supportive dining model.  We want to do everything possible to host a place where people can choose what they would like to eat, and how much.  We want to explore delivery options, multi-day meal packages, medically tailored meals, and so much more.  There are many exciting opportunities ahead, but it’s important that you know we are in the ‘exploration phase’ right now.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we move forward together we will continue to be guided most by the voices of the people who come to us for support.  We listen to and learn from them about what they want and need, allowing us to reach more people in the community than ever before. Together we stand on the shoulders of our past and look ahead to a future where all people in our community have access to the healthy food they want and need.

Will you help us lead this transformation by supporting our Food Equity Drive?

Donate today: DONATE

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