Meet the Charitable Organizations of Our 2018 Wine & Food Festival
We spoke to Feeding Westchester and the Westchester Parks Foundation to learn more about their contributions to the community.
Photo Courtesy of Feeding Westchester
What does it mean to your organization to be involved with the Wine and Food Festival?
Westchester Parks Foundation: We’re proud to be a part of Wine & Food because of what it means for Westchester — people that live and work here get to experience so much of the great food and culture that Westchester has to offer. We love that Burger & Beer Blast and the Grand Tasting Village are held in one of the most spectacular settings possible, Kensico Dam Plaza, and that thousands of people each year can see the beauty of this unique Westchester park.
Feeding Westchester: We are so grateful to be part of Westchester Magazine’s Annual Wine & Food Festival once again this year. It is in its 8th year and is a such a phenomenal event that everyone looks forward to. It brings people together — all to celebrate the “foodie” in all of us. However, many of our neighbors are struggling with hunger. At Feeding Westchester, it is extremely important for us to raise awareness on this serious issue in our communities. Despite its affluent reputation, Westchester County nevertheless continues to face “hidden hunger.” One in five people in Westchester — including 1 in 3 children — are struggling in silence with hunger. That could be your neighbor or your co-worker. Through our network, we feed people who are hungry in every single town in Westchester. We tackle hunger from all angles.
Can you give us an update on your charity and its accomplishments in the last year?
WPF: This past year has been quite busy for Westchester Parks Foundation! Our accomplishments are many, so to name a few: nearly 2,000 volunteers contributed over 5,000 hours of service to our beautiful county parks, we received a transformative donation of light show equipment that will help take our signature Westchester’s Winter Wonderland to a new, dazzling level, and we sent the most kids ever to Camp Morty, our summer sleep-away camp for underserved children in Westchester County. People are hearing our message of the importance of parks, and stepping up to get involved.
FW: This year, we marked our 30th anniversary with a name change — from Food Bank for Westchester to Feeding Westchester. The new name reflects how our organization helps to “feed” Westchester residents. As the heart of a network of more than 300 partners, Feeding Westchester sources and distributes food, and other resources, to towns throughout the county. Announcing our new name during our 30th anniversary is a perfect time to reflect on our evolved strategic positioning and growth as an organization. We are in the second year of a new strategic plan, and already on track to reach our goal of distributing 10.5 million pounds of food annually by 2021 — which is the equivalent of 9.3 million meals. Feeding Westchester is not just about feeding our neighbors, but also our commitment to help people to reach stability in order to live healthy lives.
Photo courtesy of the Westchester Parks Foundation
How were you able to benefit from last years’ Wine & Food Festival?
WPF: Wine & Food Festival is such an important part of our calendar. We are honored to be one of the benefiting charities, not only for its fundraising component, but because we are able to get our message in front of the thousands of people across Westchester and beyond that love this event and attend each year. It’s an unparalleled opportunity for us to interact with them and spread our message that parks are a central component that make Westchester such a great place to live.
FW: Last year's donation helped us to distribute food to those who need it the most. We are Westchester’s largest hunger relief program and are responsible for 95 percent of food provided to those who are hungry in the county. We efficiently invest in storage infrastructure — like freezers, refrigerators and trucks — so that our agency partners don’t have to, freeing them to focus on serving our neighbors who are hungry. We also safely recover nutritious food that would otherwise go to waste — and we are truly committed to providing people with good, nutritious meals. We make feeding Westchester possible.
What event are you most looking forward to this year?
WPF: It’s hard to choose between the Burger & Beer Blast and Grand Tasting Village! We can’t imagine a better place to hold such amazing events. The setting really matches the spectacular fun and great crowds of each of these. We love to tell people that we see at Burger & Beer Blast, if you loved this, come back on Saturday and experience Grand Tasting, another amazing event!
FW: We are mostly looking forward to An Evening with Westchester’s Tastemakers. As the benefiting charity of this event again this year, we are able to interact with people to share with them how they can help be a part of the movement to end hunger in Westchester County. Feeding Westchester mobilizes all sectors of the community to unite in order to help feed Westchester. It takes a village. With everyone’s help, no one in Westchester will go hungry.
How can people get involved with your organizations?
WPF: Parks are for everyone — we seek to preserve one of Westchester’s greatest assets, for generations to come. We invite all members of the public to share their “park story” with us! We know how important parks are to Westchester County, and everyone can get involved with us by donating, volunteering, or sharing their story with us. Visit our website at www.thewpf.org or find out more, or reach out at firstname.lastname@example.org.
FW: Whether volunteering, making a donation or being an ambassador for the cause, there are so many ways to help end hunger in Westchester County. To find out how to help, please visit feedingwestchester.org or follow us on Facebook (@FeedingWestchester), Twitter (@FeedWestchester) and Instagram (@FeedingWestchester) and use hashtag #FeedingWestchester.