Hillside Food Outreach was founded in 1997 in Westchester County, New York. Kathleen Purdy, Executive Director of the organization, conceived of the program in honor of her late grandmother – whose kindness and lifelong charity prompted Kathy’s desire to help others. In Kathy’s words…
“Well into her 80s, my grandmother certainly had sufficient resources to live comfortably, but appeared to be struggling regardless. I investigated and learned that – in the senior citizens building where she was living at the time – my grandmother was sharing her food and supplies with neighbors who couldn’t “make ends meet” with only a social security check as income. With what remained, after rent and utilities had been paid, these seniors were left having to choose between medicine and food. There simply wasn’t enough for both.
It didn’t seem right to have my grandmother continue bearing this burden, so I coordinated an arrangement that would get food assistance to all of the 20 elderly neighbors whom she had been feeding.”
As time went on – and as word spread – additional need in the community became apparent, and the agency was born. Volunteers came forth to help deliver groceries to an ever-increasing list of individuals in need of food assistance – those who were unable, for whatever reason, to access other options. The organization secured 501(c)(3) status in 2002. What began as a micro-endeavor to feed a few seniors in their early 90s has grown to now serve over 2,000 people each month.