Racing To End Port Chester Food Insecurity

Written By: Sophia Ortiz-Heaney

The morning of October 16th was a chilly one. Despite the frigid weather, over 350 volunteers and runners could be seen preparing for this year’s Meals on Main Street (MOMS) 5K Run and 1.5 Mile Fun Run in the parking lot of Colony Grill. Prior to the 8 AM race, Rye and Port Chester residents were treated to a free breakfast of bagels and coffee, as well as t-shirts for their participation. From children to senior citizens, all types of people were seen running at the fundraiser, some even with their dogs. Following the race, participants were rewarded with free pizza provided by Colony Grill and ice cream from the Bona Bona ice cream truck to celebrate their contribution to the Meals on Main Street cause.

Organized over 30 years ago, Meals on Main Street has provided many services aimed at ending food insecurity in the Port Chester Community. To achieve this, the organization provides access to food from their food trucks and vans as well as package meals for delivery. Food trucks can be found by St. Peter’s Church on Westchester Avenue and along Main Street. Their home base is currently under construction, but will be located at 509-511 North Main Street, says a Meals on Main Street director. With almost 450,000 meals served every year, Meals on Main Street has certainly impacted the Port Chester community for the better. The organization estimates that they have helped about 213,000 annually.

In addition to these developments, MOMS offers many events for community members to become involved with. The 5K run on Sunday, October 16, was one of them. Rye cross-country high schooler, Aine Kennelly, joined the event after finding out from her mom. Aine said of why she decided to run, “I wanted to do something fun with my team and it’s for a good cause…I think it’s just really important as a community to look after each other.” 

Nearby, the Dickson family, decked in their “Miles for MOMS” t-shirts, added on to Aine’s sentiment. “We feel very lucky,” Mr. Dickson said, “and we feel there was an opportunity to give back to people who don’t have as much as we do.” Events like Miles for MOMS allow community members who can give back a way to give back. 

  For any Port Chester residents that would like to help Meals on Main Street in their endeavors but are unsure of how to, Meghan Charles, an executive committee member offered some advice: “Kids can come stock (food pantry and)… they can help when we have the mobile food pantry with the distribution.” Meals on Main Street also hosts major events to help raise money for food and distribute it. One such event is their annual Thanksgiving drive. The week before Thanksgiving, MOMS distributes hundreds of meals to families in need to ensure no family is without food on this holiday. Charles also plans to hold Christmas-related activities that students can participate in. 

The 2022 Fun Run ended up raising more than $80,000 dollars. Meals on Main Street considered this run to be a success and is happy to announce that they will be able to fill more bags and baskets this year than ever before. “It’s fantastic. I remember I was a volunteer with them many years ago, and I’m so excited they are growing up,” Mayor Luis Marino of Port Chester commented. Compared to the humble beginnings of the organization, every year MOMS is now able to reach out to more people, getting them closer to achieving total food security in the area.

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