The Record-Review – The official newspaper of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York

 

Twenty years of neighbors helping neighbors

By NATALIA BAAGE-LORD
By NATALIA BAAGE-LORD

Sherry Wolf, executive director of the Community Center of Northern Westchester, with a client at the center in Katonah.

 

When Sue Brofman began working in the Community Center of Northern Westchester’s pantry eight years ago, she and her colleagues could usually tell who was coming to donate and who was coming for assistance. Nowadays, she said, there is almost no way to tell who will show up for what.

While the economy has fluctuated, the community center has kept its doors open to local residents for two decades. It offers assistance to those in need, often focusing on food, clothing and supplies for children.

On Saturday, Oct. 20, the community center holds its 20th anniversary cocktail benefit to raise money. The benefit will include raffles, auctions, entertainment, live music and hearty hors d’oeuvres.

“There is a lot of excitement celebrating the 20th anniversary,” said Ms. Brofman, benefit co-chairwoman and advisory board member. “It should just be fun. We are trying to raise as much money as we can since the community center has more need than ever to raise money so we can continue providing for the needs of the community. Our numbers of people using our service keep increasing. I do not think that people realize who is using the service. You would be surprised. It is something that I feel very strongly about. People who can help should help.”

The economy’s downturn has caused more families to seek help from the community center. Last year, it served over 1,800 families, which is reportedly 10 times more than what it served when its doors first opened in 1992. However, the economy has also made it harder for the organization to raise money to sustain its helping the community.

To celebrate the Community Center of Northern Westchester’s 20th year in business, the cocktail benefit will raffle and auction off a variety of prizes donated by local residents and businesses. Some of the items include wine bottles, high-priced gift cards, diamond earrings, dinner vouchers, theater tickets, certificates to elegant salons, tennis clinics, professional photo sessions, oil or watercolor paintings, a ride in a hot air balloon, accommodations in a New York City apartment, and a tour of NBC studios.

“The idea this year is just to have fun and make it a celebration,” said Ms. Brofman.

In the past 20 years, the community center noted that families have made approximately 82,000 visits to the food pantry. In addition, in 2011, the center distributed 184 tons of food in over 7,300 food pantry visits. Local volunteers have given over 50,000 hours of service to help give 83 tons of clothing to families. Moreover, 540 students received new school supplies, and 660 children received new sleepwear for the holidays.

“I get a lot more out of this than I give,” Ms. Brofman said. “The community center is just such a great organization, and I really feel that way. If we all say no, who is going to do this? Someone has to say yes. It is up to us who are doing okay to help people who are not.”

Ms. Brofman added that she enjoyed working in the food pantry for four years because she was able to work directly with the people who needed the community center’s services. Some people in the Northern Westchester community have hit very hard times, she said, and simply being an ear for someone to vent to can be cathartic for them.

“What people do not realize is that we are not just about food and clothing,” Ms. Brofman said. “A lot of times, when these people come in, you might be the only person they have contact with all day. It is nice having someone there to listen to them, talk to them, and let them know that we are there to help them. They are not alone. For me, that is the best part — working with the people, getting to know them, and helping them. It is the best feeling in the world. I get a lot more than I give. It is just a great feeling.”

Administration at the community center anticipate a full house, roughly 250 people, attending the anniversary benefit. While the benefit serves as a celebration and a fundraiser, it also acts as a cocktail party for friends to spend time with each other and catch up after the summer.

Anyone interested in assisting the Community Center of Northern Westchester or attending the 20th anniversary benefit can contact Ms. Brofman at suebrof@yahoo.com, or call the center at 232-6572.  The event, from 6 to 8:30 p.m., takes place at St. Matthew’s Fellowship Room, located at 32 Cantitoe St. on Route 22 in Bedford.


Read more local coverage of your hometown in this week’s issue of the The Record-Review. Newsstand copies are available at several locations listed above, or subscribe today for convenient home delivery.

 

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October 12, 2012

‘Pops, Patriots and Fireworks’

Pound Ridge/Scotts Corners

  1. Scotts Corner Market – Trinity Corners Shopping Center;  55 Westchester Avenue

  2. Pound Ridge Sunoco — 66 Westchester Avenue    

  3. Sam Parker Country Market — 257 Westchester Avenue    


Bedford Village

  1. Bedford Rexall Pharmacy — Hunting Ridge Mall; 424 Old Post Road  

  2. Village Green Deli — Village Green; Routes 22 and 172    

  3. Bedford Shell — Routes 22 and 172 (at blinking light); 848 So. Bedford Road

  4. Village Service Center —193 Pound Ridge Road (at Long Ridge Road intersection)    


Bedford Hills

  1. Bedford Hills Deli – 7 Babbitt Road    

  2. Bueti’s Deli – 526 Bedford Road (Route 117)


Katonah

  1. NoKA Joe’s – 25 Katonah Avenue    

  2. Steger’s Paper Mill – 89 Katonah Avenue    

  3. Katonah Pharmacy – Katonah Shopping Center; 294 Katonah Avenue   

  4. Bagel Shoppe – Katonah Shopping Center; 280 Katonah Avenue    

  5. Katonah Sunoco – 105 Bedford Road


Mount Kisco

  1. Teamo/Mt. Kisco News – 239 Main Street    


Cross River

  1. Bagel Boys Café – Cross River Shopping Center; Routes 121 and 35    

  2. Cross River Shell Station – Route 35    

  3. Cameron’s Deli –  890 Route 35    

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