Thursday, November 26, 2015

Food Pantries and Soup Kitchens for People in Need in Beacon

One of the first meals served in the new Soup Kitchen at the
Tabernacle of Christ Church A/G at 483 Main Street.
Photo Credit: Tabernacle Church of Christ.

The Salvation Army's restructuring of its soup kitchen prompted a fresh look at food pantries and soup kitchens in the area, and the opening of a new one. While these sources are on the radar for many, including the Sloop Club who hosts an annual event in December to raise money for pantries, donating to food pantries and soup kitchens may not be at the top of the list for others. Furthermore, food pantries can go underused, according to Deaconess D. Williams of Springfield Baptist Church, who says: "Many miss out because they simply don't know that help is available."
This Thanksgiving, we have organized a list of sources for people to donate to and eat from.
If you organize a food pantry or soup kitchen, or provide free meals in another way, please email this information to to be considered for this list.

Whether you are looking for a warm meal, canned goods, or friendly community, or you’re in a position to help by donating food or time, the following organizations in and near Beacon would love to see you. Contact organizers for information about the most up-to-date ways to participate.

Soup Kitchens & Feeding Programs

Soup Kitchen
Tabernacle of Christ A/G Church
Organized rapidly this November and already served its first meal, this soup kitchen is open to all and serves a hot meal. Several organizations pitched in, including Common Ground Farm, My Bread Is Your Bread, Dutchess Outreach, Tabernacle of Christ Church A/G, and In Care of.
Beacon, NY
DAYS/TIMES - Free Meals
11am-12pm Monday - Thursday
Coordinators for eating or donating:
Candi Rivera and Kundi Glasson: (845) 728-8196 
Currently seeking donations for commercial-grade stove and refrigerator. For the interim, Ella's Bellas has donated a household refrigerator until the commercial-grade version is secured.
To Volunteer: 

Welcome Table Soup Kitchen
Photo Credit: First Presbyterian Church.
First Presbyterian Church 
50 Liberty Street 
Beacon, NY
10-11am Fridays and Saturdays. In the summer, you may spot the Green Teens' green bus selling very affordable produce from the parking lot.
Coordinator for eating or for donating: 
Rose Quirk: (845) 600-5389

Seniors Feeding Seniors Ministry
Free meals and baked goods for seniors
Springfield Baptist Church 
8 Mattie Cooper Square
Beacon, NY
DAYS/TIMES - Free Meals
The last Saturday of each month at 12pm
DAYS/TIMES - Baked Goods
Every Wednesday (845) 813-4093
Coordinator for eating or for donating: 
Penny Jackson:

Senior Program
Salvation Army, Beacon Corps
Salvation Army Beacon Corps
372 Main Street
Beacon, NY
The Salvation Army in the church at 372 Main Street, which is in the middle of town across the street from the Yankee Clipper Diner, recently restructured its soup kitchen to be open to senior citizens only.

Pastor Kisser studied the people walking into the church, and noticed that in Beacon's current renaissance, the fastest-growing demographic using the service was seniors. Pastor Kisser explains: "Due to budget constraints, the cook for the soup kitchen was let go, and the program director and the seniors stepped in to volunteer to help feed each other. The program continues to feed 20-25 seniors per session on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 11-1:30pm." Earlier this week, the kitchen served its Thanksgiving meal to seniors, who enjoy the community time with each other.

Important to the Salvation Army is helping people eat in groups for social interaction. While the soup kitchen program is dedicated to seniors, during the Thanksgiving season, the Salvation Army does offer food vouchers to all people. Says Pastor Kisser: "In an effort to preserve the family, we give out vouchers to enable families to buy food at their own grocery stores and prepare it at home so that the family can sit down together in their own environment."
Coordinator for eating or for donating: Rhode: (845) 831-1253
Seniors should call or walk in to sign up for the program.
Donations of food can be made Tuesdays - Thursdays by using the back door off the parking lot.
Financial donations can be made online and designated to Beacon, as well as answering the seasonal mail that comes. When you designate Beacon, the location at 372 Main Street is the recipient. And of course, when you see the bright red kettles at supermarkets, money goes to your local Salvation Army. You could also drop off a check at any time to the building.

Food Pantries Open To All In Need

St. Andrew’s Church
17 South Avenue, Beacon
DAYS/TIMES - Pickups
10am-11am Saturdays
Contact for eating or for donating: 
Pat Lassiter: (845) 831-4711

St. Luke's and St. Andrews Food Pantry
Contact for eating or for donating: 
Rev. John F. Williams: (845) 831-2643

Salvation Army, Beacon Corps
372 Main Street
Beacon, NY
The emergency food pantry is open to all.
DAYS/TIMES - Pickups
Starting at 9am on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. Appointments are required.
Call to make an appointment, or stop in:
(845) 831-1253
DAYS/TIMES - Donations of Food 
Can be made Tuesdays - Thursdays by using the back door off the parking lot.

Springfield Baptist Church
Food pantry
Springfield Baptist Church 
8 Mattie Cooper Square
Beacon, NY
Coordinator for eating or for donating: 
Deaconess Joan Cook:

Food Pantry
New Vision Church of Deliverance 
831 Route 52
Fishkill, NY
This food pantry serves fresh produce from Common Ground Farm. Says Common Ground: "Fresh produce is tough to find at food pantries because it is perishable, so it doesn't store as long as canned foods or dry goods. But of course, it is much healthier (and tastier). That's why we harvest that same day and deliver directly to our pantry partners." This pantry is in Fishkill, NY, and is a few doors from the diner, on Beacon's side of I-84.
11am Thursdays

First Reformed Church
1153 Main Street
Fishkill, NY (just before Route 9)
DAYS/TIMES - Pickups
Monday - Thursday 9am to 12pm 
Tuesdays: open until 2pm
Contact for eating or for donating: To access the pantry, make an appointment by calling (845) 896-4546. Call the same number to donate or volunteer. 

I Am Beacon
While not a food pantry, it is a source that delivers food to people in need during Thanksgiving. Key Food is a major partner in this drive, by way of collecting donations and storing turkeys until they are delivered.

A very special thanks for the rapid responses of organizers on the eve of Thanksgiving to compile this article:
  • Catherine Sweet of A Little Beacon Blog for pounding the keyboard and making phone calls to find programs.
  • Joyce Hanson with the Beacon Sloop Club for delivering information on food pantries in the area. Beacon Sloop Club is hosting a Cajun Holiday Party fundraiser with proceeds going to the Beacon Food Pantry and Beacon Sloop Club. Read about this and other upcoming events in A Little Beacon Blog's Annual Events Guide.
  • Deaconess D. Williams of Springfield Baptist Church for clarifying and providing contact information.
  • Kundi Glasson for helping to rapidly organize the Soup Kitchen at Tabernacle of Christ Church A/G and providing its newest details as they develop. 


Monday, November 23, 2015

3 Pop-Up Shops Open Post-Thanksgiving - Don’t Miss Them!

Looking to pick up some one-of-a-kind gifts for your Holiday shopping list?  After Thanksgiving, there will be some great opportunities to do just that right here in Beacon and nearby!  We have a few Pop-Up shops opening this weekend from the East end of Main Street down to the West.  

This Saturday, check out Work:Shop Holiday Artisan Market at the Wickham Solid Wood Studio at 578 Main St. in Beacon. This annual market brings out some of the best artisanal crafters of jewelry, knits, glassware, ceramics, and beauty products, from Beacon and beyond. Also, of course, the renowned woodworking of Wickham Studio owner Jessica Wickham. Last year’s event included food, as well as raffles of many coveted designs.

Saturday is also the opening reception of Small Works Show at Catalyst Gallery (137 Main Street) featuring featuring paintings, drawings, photography, prints, mixed media and sculpture by more than 50 artists.  This Pop-Up will be here until January 3, 2016.

Nearby in Hopewell Junction at Arbor Ridge (17 Rt 376 - intersecting with Rt 52) on Sunday December 6 from 10 am to 4 pm will be the Rock & Shop Decemberfest Extravaganza.  This craft fair is a fundraiser for two Wounded Warriors living in the Hudson Valley.  Santa will be there with small gifts for the kids and the event will also include live music, food, and raffles.

Want more? Come back to Beacon for Second Saturday on December 12 and check out Makers-on-Hudson's 7th Annual Holiday Craft Fair at The Howland Cultural Center at 477 Main Street from 10 am to 5 pm.  This fair will feature members of the Hudson Valley Etsy Team and local makers and artisans from the Hudson Valley. 

Plan ahead and check out our full Pop-Up Shopping Guide.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Thanksgiving Menu Roundup for 2015 - Turkey, Desserts, Soups, Sides to Order

The weather is so unseasonably nice, that it is really hard to imagine that next week we'll be slowing down to a few days off from school and work, in order to help us unplug and enjoy our families. And if the rumors from folks in Chicago and Ohio are true, this region may actually get snow for Thanksgiving! Which would be a classic case of terrible weather for those who drive or fly to Grandma's - something always comes up.

For this year's Thanksgiving Menu Roundup, I had to plant myself at Ella's Bellas - one of the delicious sources of what may be several dishes served on your table this year - for my own pre-Thanksgiving slice of pumpkin cake and pumpkin fondue (which is not on their official Thanksgiving menu). It was a nice treat to have pumpkin and spice on the tip of the tongue - literally.

Pick and choose your Thanksgiving treats and serve a bounty of dishes collected from all over Beacon. Let us begin...(and order RIGHT NOW because some of these makers have ordering deadlines of Monday, or Tuesday, or maybe yesterday, but they might still accept last-minute orders).

HINT: Call ahead to see if the pie or bread of your dreams is still available to pre-order... While pounding the pavement for these menus, we saw several spots had order deadlines that had been scratched off and extended. So take a chance and call just in case... Websites can be a little trickier to update than good ol' pen to paper. Several sources list Sunday or Monday as the drop-dead day.

APPETIZERS are in luck because cheese platters are Beacon Pantry's specialty! These cheese plates are serious business, and include delightful bite-sized goat cheese tarts, stilton and cranberry tarts (stilton is a type of blue cheese), and a hand-selected array of artisanal cheese.

Because you cannot snack on cheese alone, dips and spreads are also on the Thanksgiving menu at Beacon Pantry. Select from hummus, dolmas, tomato bruschetta, mushroom bruschetta and olives. Beacon Natural Market has a tasty menu with a lot of options for various courses of your dinner. Select from tapenade (a dip made from black olives, capers and anchovies) or artichoke hummus, or surprise your guests with a seasonal pumpkin hummus!

What will you decide?


Pumpkin Pie Spice vinegar from Scarborough Fare.
Stay light and healthy with an arugula/mesclun salad with goat gouda, toasted pepitas, butternut seed oil and maple vinegar dressing from Beacon Natural Market, or an Autumn quinoa salad.


Time to get really fancy with the bread you'll serve to guests. And by fancy, I mean tasty. First, start with really salty, smooth butter from Kate's Homemade Butter from Maine or the Amish Roll Butter (a tad onion-y from the cows' diet of regional chives and such), which is easy to find at Key Food.

As for the bread, All You Knead Bakery has the largest selection of breads, from Sourdough to Challah to Olive to an Autumn Harvest - a sweet and chewy loaf chock full of cranberries, raisins and pecans. Baguettes are easy to find at other cafe restaurants like Beacon Pantry, where you may also be ordering cheeses or soups, while plain or rosemary dinner rolls dinner are warming in the oven at Ella's Bellas.

Special to Beacon Pantry this year are sweet breads, including include petite muffins in a variety of flavors, orange gingerbread, banana bread, pumpkin cranberry bread and apple raisin, brought in from the famed Cafe Le Perche up in Hudson.


Now come the toughest choices. There are a lot of good soups on these Thanksgiving menus. But here is the good news: Soups can totally transform leftovers into fresh, savory dishes when you make a sandwich and dip it into soup. So feel free to over-order here. While you may find frozen soups at your favorite source like Homespun, you need to think about these seasonal soups being offered special for Thanksgiving. Beacon Natural Market is offering a pumpkin soup with curry leaves. Ella's Bellas has a butternut apple soup, and Beacon Pantry also has a butternut squash soup.


Russell Samuel and Shivana Weathers
donate turkeys as part of the
I Am Beacon here in Key Food Beacon.
Beacon Natural Market and Key Food are your easiest sources to find turkey. Barb's Butchery cut their turkey ordering off a week ago. Key Food is also carrying out the annual turkey and food drive in partnership with I Am Beacon, and have so far reserved 95 turkeys, donated by various people, for families in need. If you usually pick up Murray's chicken from Beacon Natural Market, you can order their turkeys as well in 20lb or 22lbs range. There is a larger selection from Snowdance Farms, where you can buy a turkey from 11-24lbs. But order now, because they are accepting orders until the turkeys are gone.

A cranberry sauce with orange and spices can be found at Beacon Natural Market, and Beacon Pantry does have a cranberry chutney as well as your turkey gravy, sausage bread stuffing, and traditional bread stuffing. But if stuffed acorn squash is your thing, then Beacon Natural Market has a stuffed acorn squash stuffed with tofu, nuts, fruits and quinoa. If you're making your own stuffing but want a little help from Ella's Bellas, they are selling stuffing cubes in 10oz bags.


Rosemary infused oil from Scarborough Fare.
Mashed potatoes get creative twists this season with a sage mashed potato or a sweet potato puree with toasted pepitas at Beacon Natural Market, and Yukon gold mashed potatoes or a mashed maple sweet potato at Beacon Pantry.

Veggies!! We must be healthy, right? Good luck with that, when we can order roasted brussels sprouts cooked in duck fat and bacon from Beacon Pantry. Regular roasted veggies are available at Ella's Bellas, and consider an order of string beans with sesame garlic seasoning from Beacon Natural Market.

If you are roasting your own potatoes or vegetables, infused oil from Scarborough Fare can put your dish over the top. A top recommendation for the Thanksgiving fixings is the rosemary oil. 


Pumpkin molasses turnovers with cheesecake filling
at All You Knead.
This is the moment when you need to get a cup of coffee and really think about your options. This is serious.

Among light and fruity options are tarts, like frangipane tarts in many flavors including apple, blueberry, raspberry, chocolate caramel pecan and mixed berry at Beacon Pantry. Stuffed apples with pecans, currents, brown sugar, butter and maple syrup are being baked at Homespun. Cranberry sour cherry pie, and a vegan apple or apple pie or a cranberry upside down cake can be found at Ella's Bellas.

Pretty much all of your usual bakeries are selling pumpkin pie and apple pies. You are covered here. You just need to get your order in.

Where you want to get dangerously delicious are in these other pies, special for Thanksgiving. Ella's Bellas is baking up a fudge pie, and a pecan bourbon version with Hudson Valley Bourbon. There is a chocolate malt pie at Beacon Natural Market. Homespun has outdone themselves with a caramel pecan tart pie, pumpkin cheesecake bars, almond dacquoise with pumpkin buttercream (gluten-free), and vanilla cranberry jam cake with pumpkin-spiced buttercream. You may also find pie ideas from Get Frosted Cupcakery, but call for options!


The Pie Box, to travel with your pie, at Utensil.
For those of you traveling, pies are always the easiest contribution to bring to a gathering. The key will be in how sturdy the pie box is. Thankfully, Utensil is one step ahead of you with The Pie Box. This is a lucky find, as The Pie Box actually sold out last year around holiday time. For pie bakers, it's a great holiday gift because it makes pie delivery so much more secure.

Frozen soups are also easy to travel with, especially if you have a luggage rack on your roof, as it's usually cold in November. Well, hopefully it's cold in November.

This is all assuming you are driving, of course.

Please share your pictures of Thanksgiving meals with us at A Little Beacon Blog by tagging us on Instagram at @alittlebeacon! Looking forward to see how your dinner turned out.

Menus Used For This Article Include:

PS: If you are a food source who wants to be included in next year's Thanksgiving Menu Roundup, be sure you sign up for our Advance Notice email by clicking here where we send out opportunities to businesses so that they can submit to articles we are working on.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Beacon Reads Bookstore Makes Magic Happen for Howland Public Library

Beacon Reads Bookstore, Friends of the Howland Public Library

Quietly tucked away next to the Howland Public Library is Beacon Reads, a bookstore managed by Friends of the Howland Public Library. For a long time, it has been Beacon's only bookstore (and now has a new neighbor). Beacon Reads is a bookstore that you may have browsed through primarily on the sidewalk, where they put free books out on their rolling cart. But inside are a wealth of books of all kinds, from cookbooks, to finance books, to graphic design books, and many more.

What's more, however, are the contributions that Beacon Reads bookstore makes to the Howland Public Library, by way of Friends of the Howland Public Library. The bookstore exists to fund the library, and their efforts have yielded new public computers for the library by matching funds from the Gates Foundation. Beacon Reads is also a big supporter of the Beacon Bees in the Battle of the Books event, a regional teen literature competition in which Beacon has been very successful, taking first place in 2015, and third place in 2012! Friends of the Howland Public Library pays for the bus to the main regional event, which has been held all over the Hudson Valley, including in Carmel and Hudson. And that's not all: Friends of the Howland Public Library raises funds for the physical state of the library, too. Their accomplishments include matching construction grant funds to improve the library facade, and ongoing work to complete that project. (One famous friend of the library especially liked the whimsical mural: Tyra Banks gave it a shout out on Twitter!)

Best yet? Beacon Reads is open 7 days! Except when they aren't, if a personal matter comes up for the volunteer staff. Stop by on dry days, and you can take a goofy picture as a wise old owl!

Binnacle Books - A New Bookstore on Main Street!

Binnacle Books on Main Street, Beacon NY
In what used to be a hair salon, the three owners of Beacon's newest bookshop, Binnacle Books, did more sweeping of finished haircuts than they ever thought possible in order to clean up for the grand opening of Binnacle Books during November's Second Saturday. And it was a good thing too, because Second Saturday on a sunny November day drew a plethora of bookworms to investigate the new bookstore.

Save Me The Waltz, by Zelda Fitzgerald, at Binnacle Books

Adding entrepreneurship to their list of pursuits, the three partners invested in Binnacle Books have collectively been writers, editors, musicians, producers, organizers, filmmakers, and organizers. The bookstore specializes in used and new literature, poetry, literary nonfiction, political history, art, drama, philosophy, graphic novels, and children's books. They profess to offer some of the best prices around to buy your best books. And if the title in this picture, Save Me The Waltz, by Zelda Fitzgerald, is any indication, we are all in for many treats to come.

The children's nook is filled with surprises, both new and old. We picked up a new set of yoga cards and there were many books available for all ages. Initially, Binnacle Books is open 7 days! So no need to wonder which day you're going to walk through their red door. Happily, we at A Little Beacon Blog have ordered a new logo from The Things To Do In Beacon Guides designer, Allie Bopp, for a new Bookstores category in the Shopping Guide!

PS: This blogger was mildly obsessed with Zelda Fitzgerald in college during an American Literature course, when I picked Save Me The Waltz as the subject of an academic paper. However, the writing style of my paper was accidentally influenced by Zelda's tumultuous life (including some time spent at the Craig House in Beacon) and dreamy writing (and I don't mean dreamy as in sweet, I mean dreamy as in ... like how in a dream you switch scenes and emotions a lot), so the report was filled with research but was an #epicfail in terms of being on par with how research papers are written. I redeemed myself by directing Tennessee Williams' play about Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, "Clothes for a Summer Hotel," which was equally dreamy (Williams called it "a ghost play" in the title). So you can imagine my surprise when I saw this old friend of a book on the shelf, which is not a common title to see in bookstores. And I don't feel so bad about my paper, because the play was dubbed a "critical and commercial failure" for Williams. I'm telling you - once those Fitzgeralds get in your head, things get confusing!

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

The Wreaths Are Going Up! Holidays Are Coming!

The warmest season of all is coming! Warmth inside our hearts, that is. Canned food drives have started, along with year-end donation planning and winter coat collections for those in need. Finally, the first visual signal that winter is really coming to Beacon: the Highway Department's annual job of hanging the wreaths when they aren't in their trucks collecting residents' raked leaves. Streets throughout Beacon are going to sparkle with storefront decorations and twinkling house lights. Toast with hot chocolate to this highly creative time of year!

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Bookhouse Grows In Beacon - Little Free Library at Polhill Park

In the true spirit that warms Beacon on the windiest of days, a new community offering has popped up at Polhill Park, the triangular park located at the intersection of Main Street, Wolcott (9D), and South Avenue. While at first glance, the structure looks like a giant birdhouse, it is actually a shared reading experience for little people by way of a little bookhouse.

Beacon's most well-known library opened in 1862, and at the time was called the Howland Circulating Library. (Offering only private membership at the start, it was later made public, at the behest of a donor.) The genesis of a Little Free Library is rooted in Lisa Marie Martinez, a professional spatial organizer for her business Space Therapy by Lisa Marie. She recirculates a lot of physical possessions for clients who have emotional attachments to the objects and, rather than sending the objects to the dump, would prefer to see them used by someone else. The catalyst for the project happened after Lisa returned from studying in Havana, Cuba, where books were scarce: "Books were sacred, they were shared, they were community property, and everyone had access to them."

When Lisa moved to Mexico, her local library had few children's books. She wished for a shared box of books like she had seen at a natural foods store during her college years at Plattsburgh State University, where people would anonymously place and take items from this box that they needed or wanted to give. The universal-mind took over, and as Lisa did her research to figure out how to bring this concept to Beacon, she discovered Little Free Library, an international project started after one man built a tiny model of a one-room school house to hold books as a tribute to his mother, a former school teacher who loved reading. He put the structure in his front yard, and the concept took off (there is much more to this story here). Little Free Library has been recognized by the Library of Congress, and is on its way to reaching its goal of 2,510 little free libraries to promote literacy in children and adults, and in libraries all over the world. If you haven't noticed one of these little libraries before, maybe you will now. Certainly others will know about this first one in Beacon, as it is officially registered with Little Free Library, putting Beacon on that map with a lot of other heroic locations.

While most books are for children, you will find some for adults. Lisa hung a Community Log, a journal for visitors to capture thoughts or expressions of love for a good read.

The bookhouse was designed and built by Keith Decent, and the materials donated by Hudson Valley Maker & Artisan Cooperative.

Every library needs an architect to design and build it, and this one was taken on by Keith Decent and the group he is affiliated with, Hudson Valley Maker & Artisan Cooperative, who donated the materials and extra sets of hands. Lisa's directions to Keith were simple: Make the structure accessible to readers of all sizes, including those who use wheelchairs, so that as many people as possible would be able to use it. Lisa spent the summer meeting with members of the City Council, Mayor Randy Casale, the City Administrator, the Building Department and other groups to get permission to install the structure on City of Beacon property. "Once the word got around that this was just a small box with books, people who were unfamiliar with the concept really encouraged this and the City approved of the installation," recalls Lisa.

Lisa's project has led to more initiatives, including requests for more Little Free Libraries around Beacon, and volunteers from the Beacon Police Department to get involved with the "Kids, Community and Cops Program," an initiative also affiliated with Little Free Library to build healthier communities through police involvement in literacy.

Hats off to everyone involved in this project, and be sure to share what special books you find - in the little journal, and in social media! Tag #littlefreelibrarybeacon and @littlefreelibrary in your literary pursuits! Make sure to tag #alittlebeaconblog, too, because we want to see what moved you!