COVID 19 Teamwork

COVID 19 Teamwork


Our community is doing great work in this time of COVID… but we need help spreading the word. Yes, we have social media and Mayor Bassett’s monthly newsletter, yet those who need the help most—such as first-time pantry clients—may not be seeing them. 

So Rhinebeck Responds wants to spread the word and share the inspiration.

For example, Vanessa Bertozzi, the liaison between Rhinebeck Responds and Village government, has placed sandwich boards with food pantry info around the Village. She also: created bilingual flyers to be distributed in collaboration with the schools and CultureConnect; posted on the Tops bulletin board; and Interact students have distributed the flyers by going door to door.

Here’s a detailed picture of our Village coming together for this food pantry cause…


Churches, Rotary Club, Sinterklass, oh my!

Back in March, with news reports of the COVID-19 crisis overwhelming hospitals and food pantries, Mayor Bassett called together Pastor Luis of Rhinebeck Reformed Church, Father Richard of Church of the Messiah and Louis Turpin—because of his involvement in the Rotary Club and his expertise in disaster relief with Shelter Box. This small group grew organically from there and now comprises Mayor Bassett; Father Richard of Church of the Messiah; Pastor Luis and Melodye Moore of Rhinebeck Reformed Church; Bill Schaffer and Mike Frazier of Rotary Club; David Ping as a liaison for Interact Students; Kiki Steele representing Rotary and the Sinterklaas Ask-me Ladies; Vanessa Bertozzi as a liaison between Rhinebeck Responds and Village government. The team meets twice weekly online and plans how to scale up to meet growing demand.




Drive-Up Pantry

 On Saturdays, the Jayne Brooks Food Pantry at Church of the Messiah has seen a growing need in the community—going from about 30 households before the COVID-19 crisis to about 70 on a weekly basis. They expanded deliveries to the refugee population in Kingston and to a school partner in Hyde Park. They augmented their approach to providing food in a contact-less way with drive-up and deliveries that minimized the risk of passing on the Virus. The pantry has had to limit the number of its own volunteers in the space in an effort to socially distance, but has seen an outpouring of support from its congregation. The food pantry has also collaborated with the Village of Rhinebeck Fire Department, which sponsored a fundraising drive and provides traffic management to support the pantry.


Healthy Snacks & Pet Love 

In order to handle more perishables, Mayor Bassett arranged for the Dutchess County Fairgrounds to generously host an auxiliary perishables drive-through pantry. There, Saturdays 10am-1pm, Kiki Steele and her daughters dole out milk, eggs, butter and healthy snack packs. The perishables are sourced thanks to the helping hands of Shiwanti Widyarathna, owner of Cinnamon, and funded by a grant from The Frost Foundation, Inc to the Church of the Messiah. The amazing network of Sinterklaas Ask-Me Ladies ladies, including dynamo Dorna Schroeter, shop, pay for and then package up healthy snack packs at a sanitary work station at Messiah. Additionally, Rhinebeck Animal Hospital made a considerate donation of dog and cat food to be given out at the Fairgrounds pantry, and Bill Schaffer from Rotary Club and Mayor Bassett have sourced masks to be given out as well. The team even got a donation of fresh flowers from Shoving Leopard Farm one week. 



300 Meals in a day

The Rhinebeck Reformed Church, another long established pantry in the Village, quickly expanded its outreach to the needy by offering a wide variety of food choices, in addition to masks through Mayor Bassett. This pantry is available for those who do not drive as a walk-in service. The Rhinebeck Reformed Church’s food pantry also thanks Del’s. This collaboration has been giving out about 300 meals on Sundays at Del’s, as well as donated meals to The Thompson House staff on Sundays. Bread Alone provides the pantry clients with bread and other baked goods, and the Mirbeau Inn & Spa Rhinebeck thoughtfully donated sautéed vegetables to a meal outreach with Del’s on one occasion, and then they donated trail mixes on a another occasion, which was shared with pantry clients.



What a box truck can do 

The Rotary Club has assisted in bringing Reformed pantry items to Wells Manor, and with lending Club President Bill Schaffer’s box truck to haul items. The church has been giving out the snack kits and meal kits, as prepared by Aida Wilder, through the church‘s pantry, and it has been supplying the kits to the local schools, part of a lunch box program. The church has also seen an outpouring of support from its congregation, with many of them volunteering for safe food handling and deliveries to congregants who aren’t able to drive or walk to their pantry.


Spread the word

Now that you know what our amazing community is doing, please help us get the word out. Rhinebeck Responds is asking for your cooperation… If you know of someone in need of food pantry resources in Rhinebeck, please visit:


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