Community Supported Nutrition Boxes

And everyone it takes to connect healthy food with hungry people.

Thank you, Stephanie and all our volunteers for making our CSN Boxes such a success!

Stephanie first became aware of our organization after her daughter’s Girl Scout troop volunteered for a day in the kitchen. The mission immediately resonated with her – growing up, we never wasted food. “I don’t know if it’s the culture of being Italian, but my mother always made more food with what was leftover and available.”  

After Stephanie left her job, she knew she wanted to give back to the community. With her background in Finance, she reached out to our Executive Director, Martha, to see if there was some professional help she could provide. She then learned that Martha had started packaging food boxes for people stuck at home during COVID. Stephanie’s older daughter needed community service hours for school, so they both started helping on Wednesdays. Since then, Stephanie has led the Wednesday volunteers almost every week! She said her family knows not to expect anything from her on Wednesdays or schedule anything important because she will be busy connecting food to those in need.

"I honestly don't know what we'd do with out Stephanie leading CSN. Her dedication to the program and ability to stay flexible with what is on hand and what is needed is invaluable. She also leads the other volunteers with such kindness it's always fun to be in the kitchen on a Wednesday."
-Martha Elder, Second Chance Foods, Executive Director

Community Supported Nutrition - CSN Boxes

You might remember that it all started with a collaboration between County Legislator Toni Addonizio, Pastor Andrew Columbia, and Second Chance Foods. These community members recognized the need in our community for food assistance during the COVID lockdown. People were sick or unable to leave their homes due to risk but still needed to eat! Each of these participants fill a specific need –  Mount Carmel Baptist Church assists the families in picking food up, people sign up through Toni or are referred through the Church and other volunteers. And of course Second Chance Foods donates the groceries and meals! In the beginning, all the partners thought it would be a short-term program, maybe lasting through the end of the year but slowing down as the impact of the pandemic let up. Instead, two and a half years later, the list has grown to feeding nearly 300 people weekly! As this need continues, Second Chance Foods and all our partners are working hard to scale our operations to collect more groceries, cook more meals, pack more boxes and connect more nourishing food with hungry people in need. 

Calling our Wednesday Distribution CSN Boxes reflects the food that goes into each box, and the community led efforts that started this program. On Wednesdays Stephanie and the other volunteers (some come every week others less frequently) gather around noon to pack boxes of meals and groceries for individuals and families. The program might sound simple, and in some ways, it is. However, it’s also the result of community collaboration with multiple changing details that come together in an innovative and unique solution.

  • This program is a true collaboration and every week combines:
  • An ongoing effort from County Legislator Toni Addonizio, Second Chance Foods, and others to collect and organize names
  • Groceries and fresh food collected from local stores and farms by the Second Chance Foods volunteers and staff
  • Over 15 Second Chance Foods Volunteers cooking and packaging meals for 8+ hours total
  • The steadfast commitment of 4-6 volunteers spending 1/2 a day packing, organizing, and transporting.
  • Two hours of a nonstop train of cars, trucks, and people getting food to the people who need it thanks to Mount Carmel Baptist Church

To create an immeasurable impact on the lives of seniors, veterans, parents, kids, and families who need help putting dinner on the table.

Thank you to *everyone* that makes it possible!

Wednesday Volunteers start by pulling all the donated food that Tuesday Volunteers didn’t cook, and organize it like a mini grocery store by type of food (composting and recycling anything unusable). Once they label the boxes for each recipient, they begin filling them based on what was cooked the day before with the appropriate serving size. Next comes the fun part! Volunteers look at their lists and what’s available and fill boxes as if they were shopping for their own families until the packages are complete and the groceries are gone. Throughout the process, they select ingredients that make sense together or complement the prepared meals for the week. The final result is a box full of foods that provides recipients with variety and choice. 

It took both an 80qt and a 60 qt pot filled to the brim to make enough soup for our list! Our Tuesday Volunteers also spent 8 hours just cutting up enough broccoli for the stir-fry! 

Stephanie loves the care volunteers put into cultivating the contents of each box. They have conversations about what to include and why and take pride in putting together ingredients. She also enjoys that the food they receive has items the recipients may not have chosen on their own but get to try, like Swiss Chard or Kale. 

“There are lot of moving parts to get the end product! But, I think that’s a good thing because at the end of the day there is a box with fresh food and foods cooked special for someone that needs it. You’ll leave exhausted but fulfilled.” -Stephanie

A Team Effort

Before boxes are packed, food is picked up from Trader Joe’s, Ace Endico, Deciccos, local farms, and other donors earlier in the week. This food is sorted based on freshness, amount, and other factors to determine what meals will be cooked and what items will be left fresh. Tuesday’s volunteers cook and process food to reflect the needs of participants in the Wednesday program. Are we feeding children or seniors? What meals were provided last week and the week before? What new ways can we bring health and happiness to our food recipients? These meals are packaged into the appropriate size vessel for the person or family receiving them. For example, this week, 20 families of 5 were given 2 quarts of Pumpkin Soup from the kitchen (along with much more). Families of 4 received 1 quart, and a pint, families of 2-3 were given 1 quart, and individuals received a pint serving. However, depending on the person, the meal, and even the day, this could translate to one meal or multiple! Did you know so much math, love, and work went into hunger relief? 

Another volunteer, Karl Rohde, has also been helping from the beginning. Karl works full-time for Veteran Services when he accidentally got involved. He was dropping something off at the Second Chance Foods kitchen when he noticed all the boxes sitting. After learning what they were for, he offered to help transport them with his truck and has been connecting food from the kitchen to the church ever since! In April 2020, everything could fit in Karl’s truck, but now it takes 3-4 people to move all the boxes to the pick-up spot. Karl has even been able to refer a few veterans he works with who are in need. He sometimes gives veterans in need gift cards to Stop n Shop, but many need more consistent assistance than that. 

"It helps so much; everyone loves it. One of the Vets had young kids and wasn't working, they were able to get meals that the whole family loved and take the pressure off. Everything people receive they're always so grateful for." - Karl Rohde, transportation volunteer 

The Growing Need for Accessible Food

Did you know, CSN Boxes have increased 4.5x over the last two years? Since this program began in 2020, its success and growth are thanks to Stephanie, Toni, Karl, Pastor Columbia and Mount Carmel Baptist Church, and so many other volunteers that give a helping hand! In the beginning, they only made 15-20 boxes weekly, so she would stalk the produce department to grab some sturdy banana boxes and even prepped things in her garage before heading to Second Chance Foods. Over the last two and a half years, the need for this service has grown so much that they now have a designated spot in the kitchen and are lucky to get everything done in four hours. Stephanie has lead this effort for Second Chance Foods almost every week and we’re so grateful for her generosity of time and commitment to food justice.

"I think the surprising thing for me is how much food gets donated. If Second Chance Foods wasn't there to receive it where would all this food end up? I also think a lot about how much more is available to be rescued and what it takes to do that. The need has grown so much but we have more volunteers, more refrigeration, and are always trying to adjust things to improve the process."

Food No Matter What

We created this program in April of 2020 and over two years later, it continues because the demand remains. Unlike government food assistance programs like SNAP, WIC, and many other assistance organizations, Second Chance Foods has no income thresholds, lengthy forms to fill out, or proof of need. Instead, we believe in connecting healthy food to our hungry neighbors, no matter what and responding to community needs like Toni’s request to provide boxes of food to our neighbors. In 2020, volunteers packed an average of 15-20 boxes a week for individuals or families. Today, they packed 85 boxes, serving a total of 295 people. Some of our recipients are homeless, living in a hotel with only a microwave to cook with, others are seniors or families. Their need for assistance might be immediate, temporary, short, or long-term. No matter the reason, we are proud to provide a box of food with carefully prepared meals and fresh groceries to nourish them when it’s needed.

"This program has been a tremendous blessing because many people are struggling even after COVID. (Mt. Carmel) has a pantry with non-perishables open four days a week, but the meals and fresh food provided are so essential to the people who need it."
-Pastor Andrew Columbia, Mount Carmel Baptist Church  

Recipients are always trying to pay it forward – Pastor Columbia mentioned that many will donate items back to the dry pantry, ask if they can volunteer time, or after they no longer need assistance financially donate as a way to say thank you and help someone else in need.

Volunteers get the whole family involved! Pastor Columbia says kids work together to lift heavy boxes of food to trunks and families love giving back together while teaching their kids about the power of community and service.

“You never know what someone is going through; we help all types of people, many with families and veterans. Some people lost their job and just need a little help and ask if they can pay us back – I always say, no you cannot! We’re just thankful we can help.” – County Legislator, Toni Addonizio

"Food costs have really contributed to the growth of need. But, the great thing is that you don't have to apply or anything to receive help from us, it's just based on need. It might be immediate or temporary or longer term. But even if people are working food has gotten so expensive it's important that we're still able to help them."

Interested in Joining Us In Food Justice?

We have a variety of ways to get involved! Volunteer once or on a regular basis like Stephanie. We even try to accommodate requests for special groups to volunteer. No experience needed, just the desire to nourish our community!

"If you're looking for a volunteer opportunity that is local to our community, Second Chance Foods has an option for you. You can cook, chop, clean, and so much more. Even the cooking days are more than cooking so you can find something that works for you. There is also harvesting or coming on Wednesdays to put everything together. There is never just one thing going on but so many volunteers to connect with who care and love this work. It's why we show up week after week!" -Stephanie, Lead Volunteer of Wednesday Distribution 2 1/2 years

Want To Help Feed More People?

Unfortunately, as food costs rise, the need for food assistance is not slowing down. Will you help us grow our capacity and continue to develop innovative ways to connect healthy food with hungry people with a gift today?

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Looking for food?

Though we wish we could nourish everyone in need, Second Chance Foods does not directly distribute meals or groceries to individuals at this time. We utilize existing programs in the community and supplement their food with our meals and groceries. If you or someone you know is in need of assistance, please refer to our resource page here for our partnerships and local options.

Mailing Address:

P.O.Box 93
Carmel, NY 10512

Kitchen Address:

120 Marvin Ave Brewster, NY 10509

*please note we do not keep "hours" at the kitchen at this time. If you are looking to donate food please contact or call 845-723-1302


General Questions please contact Associate Director Stephanie Purcell 845-723-1311

Volunteer Questions contact Volunteer Coordinator Heather Marinelli 845-723-1309

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Second Chance Foods is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.

EIN# 81-0996695