The ancient Greek fable-teller, Aesop, once asserted that "a crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety."
Janet Reynolds, a long-time Pittsford resident and coordinator of The Food Cupboard, along with its director Anita Conlon and nearly 75 active volunteers, provide both peace and food (well above the "crust" level) to more than 300 families each month in the Rochester area.
Of those volunteers, Conlon says, “The Pittsford Food Cupboard is blessed to have such an energetic, talented and caring community of volunteers, staff, and donors involved in providing some of life's basic needs, ones that we all have in common — food and love."
Located in the old Pickle Factory, the Food Cupboard serves 600-700 people from Pittsford, East Rochester, Brighton and two areas in the city of Rochester. The Cupboard includes among its clients "the elderly, the sick, the poor, those who have lost jobs, and those who have other trauma in their lives."
Reynolds, a native Oregonian, retired early from a managerial career at Xerox, was in the antiques business before starting her volunteer work at the Cupboard and is now as the coordinator of client services.
Asserting "No one should be hungry!" Reynolds provides background about the organization.
"Originally founded in 1998 by the Pittsford Clergy Association and local churches, which remain very active supporters, the Cupboard is affiliated with Food Link, the regional food bank that provides some of the food."
There are many other sources of food donations, though: the Pittsford schools, local organizations, and businesses, many local people.
Reynolds points out, "Individuals provide us ongoing donations critical for meeting the need for food. Some give cash; others have 'adopted’ a shelf'’; there are even some who shop for us as they do their own grocery shopping."
The support appears in numerous sources, in numerous ways: "Some people think of us at times of holiday or significant events in their own lives. Children do neighborhood drives, have birthday parties with food in lieu of gifts. Some children even give us the profits from their lemonade sales.”
Not surprisingly, Reynolds finds (and helps create) peace in the Cupboard environment, which she describes as a "warm supportive place for customers and volunteers alike. We value the friendships we have made with both groups," Reynolds shares. "We cheer each new job and relish seeing customers improving their health. Of course, our support doesn't always come in the form of food--sometimes we simply provide a welcome ear for our clients to talk about what is happening in their lives."
Reynolds, Director Conlon, and the many volunteers with whom they work are lessening the anxiety of those in our community who find themselves in difficult circumstances. Ideally, in time, all meals will be eaten in peace.