"To me, Dutchess Outreach shows how a small-scale, committed and concentrated effort can have a huge impact on a serious social problem - economic inequity and its companion, local hunger. The key to our success is the reach of the organization. Every day, people from all corners of the community come together to ensure the human right to food and our other most basic needs." — Brian Riddel, Executive Director
Each year, Dutchess Outreach helps thousands of low-income individuals and families throughout Dutchess County by providing food, clothing, and emergency relief programs and services. It is an anchor tenant in Poughkeepsie’s Family Partnership Center, from which it operates most of its programs.
Dutchess Outreach’s longest-running program is the Lunch Box, a community meal program, located in the garden wing of the Family Partnership Center, that serves hot lunch, after-school, and dinner meals five days per week to any resident of Dutchess County. Dutchess Outreach also operates an emergency food pantry, a mobile farmers’ market, and administers a community farm located in the center of the City of Poughkeepsie. Through these initiatives, Dutchess Outreach is widening access to more nutritious foods, lowering the instance of food insecurity, and increasing the overall health and vitality of the community by creating a path toward a local, sustainable, and equitable food system.
Dutchess Outreach assists residents in crisis by connecting and referring them to benefits, advocating on their behalf with landlords and utility companies, and distributing funds to help them keep their lights on and to ensure they have consistent access to prescribed medication. Dutchess Outreach offers clients free, lightly-used children’s clothing and conducts an annual coat drive that distributes thousands of coats. It also partners with multiple agencies around the county to collect and distribute small household items.
In addition to providing general operating support to Dutchess Outreach in 2018, the Foundation provided a management assistance mini-grant for professional staff development, and a grant to distribute Essential Items. These grants fall within the Foundation’s Safety Net and Strengthening Nonprofits funding themes.