Hunger Is Not a Disease

Thanks Jan: An Open Letter to Jan Whitman

Thank you for the wonderful job you did throughout your career at the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley.    Many, many people are escaping hunger because of the direction you offered.  This time at the Food Bank really amounts to your entire adult life because the Food Bank was your only employer.  You’ve been the face of the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley for over 20 years!

Several years ago you invited me to serve on your board.  It’s been an honor and a pleasure to do this job, although I’m not really a “board person” anymore.  I’m a food pantry coordinator.  I accepted the invitation because you asked me to.  I never wanted to do anything more than feed a 3-day supply of food to each of the hungry shoppers at the food pantry.

When I met the other board members at meetings, I saw a group of people genuinely devoted to you…devoted to your concept of helping each and every person needing food, one person at a time.  Your attitudes strongly influenced the board members.  Board members attracted the resources needed to do the job because they were devoted to your dedication and mission.

What a gift!

And, while I’m focused on gifts  – donations – money, I cannot overlook the grants.  Jan, you are a wonderful grant writer.  Grant writers in your category are as scarce as hens’ teeth.  Very few can successfully bring in a grant package over $100,000.  You have no problem with that at all.  In fact, you brought in several in the summer of 2014.  And, to top it off, you were very quiet about it.  I only found out about them by  accident.  Then, of course, I spilled the beans far and wide.

Most recently, you introduced the concept of the Farm Stand to our area.  What a change you brought:  As a result of your leadership and innovation, hungry people have more access to fresh produce.  You goal was to have Farm Stands in communities throughout the  Hudson Valley where hungry people can shop for fresh produce at an affordable price:  free.

I visited 2 of the Farm Stands in Kingston recently.  One is located at People’s Place and the other at Community Action.  People with no $$$ now shop for the nutritious foods they need.

What a concept:  Excited, happy shoppers take fruits and vegetables home.  The choice includes:









Jan, none of us should have been a bit surprised by your idea.  After all, you’ve always felt individuals are important.  Your Farm Stand concept makes more fresh produce available to the hungry on an ongoing basis.  By focusing on feeding the hungry, one person at a time, you touched the lives of thousands  in our area.

All this Farm Stand food is donated by grocers and farmers.  No merchant is losing a sale by not seeing these shoppers at a supermarket line because these shoppers don’t have the income to buy any of these foods.

To accomplish this, you diverted food on its way to the landfill.  The implementation of the Farm Stand concept is moving the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley into the future at breakneck speed.

Thank you for all you did over the years.  When I think about this, I realize that you gave your adult life to the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley.

Reluctantly, it’s time for us all to accept your resignation as the Executive Director of the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley.  You are adopting a new lifestyle.  The time has come for corporate memory and focus to change.

The building housing the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley offers much opportunity now that Farm Stands are a part of the function in the area.  This cavernous space is ready for someone with the energy, budget, and authority to move in the future.  You know, more than anyone, that much can be accomplished with the right person at the helm.  You set the stage for this to happen.

I served on your board.  Now, I offer my resignation.  It’s time for the employees and volunteers of the future Food Bank of the Hudson Valley to write their own story.

Peace and food for all.

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Thurman Greco