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Pleasantville's Hillside Delivers Food to Needy

When Kathleen Purdy noticed that her mom didn’t have enough food, she knew something wasn’t right. Little did she know, her mother was feeding the other elderly people in her building less fortunate than herself. That inspired Purdy to create the Pleasantville non-profit, Hillside Food Outreach program in 1994.

“We want to help people,” Purdy said. “That has been our mission for 17 years and after more than 2,000 people, that’s still what we’re doing.”

Unlike food pantries, Hillside is a food delivery service to those in need. Families get referred by the Department of Social Services, the United Way, Visiting Nurses of Westchester, churches and schools and then receive a delivery of groceries twice a month.

Hillside also differs from pantries in the diet included in those bags of much needed nourishment. Food pantries don’t provide the proper diet to those with special health and dietary needs, such as those with diabetes, HIV/AIDS, even those with celiac disease who must eat gluten-free. Hillside also has baby food for families in need with infants and toddlers.

Hillside received a special helping hand when a certain Yankee star got involved early on. Bernie Williams started making deliveries when he had the time after hearing Purdy speak at a church. After his busy baseball schedule, he began to serve as the spokesperson for Hillside, even getting his Yankee pals involved. Hillside has received assistance from Paul O’Neill, Jorge Posada, Darryl Strawberry, Luis Sojo, Robinson Cano, Mariano Rivera and managers Joe Torre and Joe Girardi.

Hillside Food Outreach tries to provide a smarter and more convenient alternative for the needy. Hillside serves over 2,000 people throughout Westchester and Putnam counties. In September, they will be opening a location in Danbury to serve Fairfield County.

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