By Sharon L. Dosin, SPHR, Chief Operating Officer
Vincent’s Table was founded in July of 2021 by the Sisters of Charity of New York and the College of Mount Saint Vincent in response to the growing needs of those who are food insecure in our surrounding communities and here on our campus.
Vincent’s Table has created partnerships with Feeding Westchester and the Franciscan Friars Breadline and together, distribute nutritious food to people struggling with food insecurity.
Vincent’s Table sponsors 3 distributions monthly; two in Yonkers, NY and one in Bronx, NY. Since its first food distribution in Yonkers in February 2022, Vincent’s Table has distributed over 110,000 pounds of food to families in need. In May 2022, Vincent’s Table sponsored its first distribution in the Bronx, and over the past year has distributed over 20,000 pounds of food supporting over 500 families monthly.
In addition to the monthly food distributions, Vincent’s Table supports students and staff members on campus by maintaining a pantry and refrigerator where anyone is welcome to take what they need and donate what they can. Our hope is that the campus community will benefit from the generosity of those who are able to support this ministry.
Along with relying on our partnerships and donations, over the past year Vincent’s Table has received almost $50,000 in grant funding. This has assisted us in providing services above and beyond food.
Most of us don’t know what it’s like to choose between buying groceries or paying our rent, but many of our neighbors struggle each day with this decision. According to a study at Johns Hopkins University, students exposed to the harsh realities of food insecurity were less likely to pursue and complete higher education. Vincent’s Table seeks to combat this increasingly common issue plaguing our modern educational system by offering any student at the College of Mount Saint Vincent a nourishing breakfast. The program has been very successful since it began one year ago.
I have had the honor of working with this ministry since its inception and am grace filled by its generosity and the gratitude of the people it serves. We’ve hosted Halloween parties for the children that come to the distributions and have given out baskets filled with treats, provided complete Thanksgiving meals to families, through the generosity of a donor, distributed over 250 children’s toys at Christmas, and hosted a free legal clinic to support women who are victims of domestic violence or elder abuse.
By attending the distributions month after month, I have gotten to know some guests quite well. Learning about them and hearing about their struggles and what they have overcome is inspirational. In fact, the Sisters of Charity has provided full time employment to some of those guests and now, although in a better position financially, the guests still come to the distributions, but not to receive donations, they volunteer and give back to their community.
Just recently at our distribution I spent time with a mother of a 4-month-old child, who was hopeful that we had bananas to offer her that week because she wanted to begin to introduce soft food to her child. She had so many questions about the baby and her habits. As a mother of 3 (almost) grown boys, I was happy to pass along some helpful tips that I wish I knew as a young mother. When I saw her again, she was so excited to share the news of how her child was doing and how much she loved bananas!
Although working with this ministry is part of my role with the Sisters of Charity, I’ve received so much more than I ever expected. Embracing the Mission is just the start of it, living the Mission is where it’s at!
On Tuesday, November 28, the Sisters of Charity of New York will be participating in Giving Tuesday, a global movement for individuals to support the causes they care about during the holiday season. This year, the proceeds raised on Giving Tuesday will go directly to support our Vincent’s Table ministry. Mark your calendar, follow us on social media, and join us on November 28.