Dutchess Responds Food Connection Provided Critical Food Connections During Pandemic Peak

Poughkeepsie, NY… Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro announced today the Dutchess Responds Food Connection has concluded its vital mission of connecting residents in critical need of food resources as a result of the Coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic to food and other necessities, having delivered more than 14,000 meals over the last 14 weeks, as the demand for the program has waned.

Dutchess-RespondsThe Dutchess Responds Food Connection, a collaboration between Dutchess County Government, Dutchess Outreach and the Community Action Partnership for Dutchess County, made its final deliveries earlier this week, completing its successful service to families throughout the County adversely impacted by the pandemic. More than 660 inquiries were made to the Food Connection’s hotline, with nearly 600 households served by the program.

County Executive Molinaro said, “I’ve always been overwhelmed by how Dutchess responds during difficult times, and our Food Connection has been a integral part of our COVID-19 relief effort, providing nutritious food to so many who have been touched by this pandemic. Over the past several weeks, we’ve seen a marked decline in inquiries made to our Food Connection, a clear indication our County – as a community and as an economy – is moving forward from the pandemic as we continue Restarting Dutchess. We thank our community partners for their willingness to collaborate during this unprecedented period, as well as their efforts to safeguard the health and well-being of our residents.”

The program was established to support those most impacted by the shutdown of services and businesses to stop the spread of Coronavirus. Coordinated by the Dutchess County Department of Planning and Development, the Dutchess Responds Food Connection began operation in mid-March, with Planning and Development employees answering the Food Connection hotline and recording inquiries from residents. County employees and volunteers delivered meals; each delivery consisted of nine meals – three meals per day for three days.

During its first two weeks of operation, the Dutchess Responds Food Connection averaged 13 inquiries and made 19 deliveries each day; the past two weeks, those daily averages dropped to less than five inquiries and nine deliveries. During the life of the program, the Food Connection averaged eight inquiries and 14 deliveries daily. At its peak, the Food Connection received 27 inquiries in one day and made 41 deliveries in a single day.

Demand for the Food Connection has recently diminished as Dutchess County Government has connected residents to the Department of Community and Family Services for benefits, including unemployment; Dutchess County Public Transit buses have resumed full service, enabling more residents to shop for themselves; and as the countywide infection rate has decreased, residents are more comfortable shopping in public.

Residents who remain in need of food resources will be connected to local partners, such as Dutchess Outreach and Community Action Partnership for Dutchess County.

County Executive Molinaro said, “Our community is fortunate to have coordinated network of organizations – be they food pantries, the County’s Office for the Aging or others – that provide critical food resources year-round to local residents. We will continue to work with these partners to ensure residents’ urgent food needs are met – not only during this pandemic, but beyond.”

More information about the County’s “Restarting Dutchess” efforts is available online. Dutchess County Government continues to provide residents the most current information on its COVID-19 Community Impact Dashboard, as well as guidance on its website, http://www.dutchessny.gov/coronavirus, its Coronavirus hotline, (845) 486-3555, and its Facebook and Twitter accounts.