CATSKILL, N.Y. (NEWS10) — There are food pantries all across the Capital Region helping thousands of families. One in Catskill was started by a “Remarkable Woman” finalist who saw a need in her community and stepped up to help make sure no one goes hungry.
Matthew 25 is a food pantry, thrift shop, resource center and so much more where all the clients are treated with dignity and respect.
Patti Dushane believes in the power of prayer, and it was that power that brought her to do something she had never done before: open a food pantry.
She points out all the inspirational messages she’s placed throughout the waiting room.
“I want them to know that the only way from here is up. I want them to believe in themselves, and I don’t want them to give up on hope.”
Patti was born and raised in Catskill and loves her community. While working in the Catskill Central School District, she saw something that touched her heart — children going hungry when they weren’t in school.
“I was in prayer, praying about it, and it came to my heart that we needed a food pantry, so I started one.”
That was in 2008, one shelf in an apartment next to her home.
“When you’re from a small community, I think there was such a need that word got out and they started coming to my house. So then a line started going down the street, and I knew we needed a bigger place.”
She did get this bigger place from the county after losing everything in a fire. But that setback didn’t stop her, because she saw the need growing every year.
“I have people that are working two jobs, ” Patti says, who still need to use the food pantry. “We have a grandmother who was driving her daughter to work and watching her daughter, her granddaughter. The grandmother’s car broke down, her daughter lost the job, and it just snowballed, so she’s using our resources now.”
Those resources include more than food. She has clothes for kids and adults, household goods and toys available year-round, plus special food baskets and presents at Thanksgiving and Christmas.
“I love serving the community, I really do.”
And every weekend, dozens of kids in the schools get to take home what she calls a Power Pack: a bag filled with snacks and food so no child goes without.
It’s a lot of work for Patti and her dozens of volunteers, but she wants to do even more.
“Every goal we’ve set we’ve achieved, and I really feel in my heart that the next goal we have to achieve is taking care of the homeless.” She points out, “In Albany, you have a shelter and in Kingston, you have a shelter, but here, we really don’t have a place.”
For a woman who began a food pantry with a prayer and found its name in scripture, it is only a matter of time before divine intervention gives her the place for a new mission.
“Matthew 25:35 — ‘For I was hungry and you fed me, for I was naked and you clothed me, I was thirsty and you gave me drink’ and that’s what we do.”