Seneca Falls Legion Holds Feed the Future Drive

Food Pantry DonationsThe Seneca Falls American Legion, Post 366 is holding their Annual Feed the Future drive, specifically to help provide non-perishable breakfast foods for the House of Concern Food Pantry. The Legion Hall, at 48 State Street is directly across the street from the House of Concern, and will receive donations through June 14th.

With the school year ending soon, many families will be without the supplemental meals provided for free or reduced prices through programs offered by the schools. This puts an additional burden on families with school age children.

American Legion LogoAs an incentive to participate in the program, for every item donated, the donor will receive an entry into a drawing to win gift certificates provided by local businesses.

Examples of the types of foods the Legion is looking for include cereals, juice boxes, oatmeal, pop tarts, cereal bars, instant breakfast, and peanut butter. For more information about this campaign, contact Julie Scott at 315-604-1396, or the legion at 315-568-8091.


Food Drive in Seneca Falls April 18th, 2015

Food Drive
Michael Martin, a Canning Hunger ministry volunteer, donates food collected for the Seneca County House of Concern

Volunteers from Finger Lakes Christian Fellowship will be collecting food as part of its Canning Hunger ministry from residents of the Ken-Mor Estates neighborhood in Seneca Falls on Saturday, April 18th.  The food collected will be given to the Seneca County House of Concern for distribution.

Residents interested in participating in the food drive are encouraged to gather shelf-stable foods such as canned soups, canned fruits and vegetables, pasta, cereals, and boxed meals from their pantries.  Volunteers will go door-to-door to collect the food donations.

Volunteers will return to the Ken-Mor Estates neighborhood on the third Saturday of each month to collect food for six month.  Those interested in donating food on a regular basis can sign up with the person collecting or may call the Canning Hunger ministry leader, Jason Martin at 315.283.0060.

Jason Martin says of the ministry, “It is a blessing participating with folks from our community to meet the needs of those in our community.  Jesus said in Matthew 25:40 that when we give to the hungry, we give to Him.”

To learn more about Finger Lakes Christian Fellowship’s community outreach programs, please call the church at 315.568.5691 or visit their website at

Donation Helps SF Backpack Program

SenecaFalls Backpack ProgramSENECA FALLS – Mark Benjamin of Seneca Meadows Landfill presented Lisa Garigen with funds to provide weekend food for the Seneca Falls Backpack program for the 2015 school year.

“Thank you so much for the donation,”stated Garigen. “This donation will help between 7-10 children for the entire school year depending on the fluctuating cost of the food bags. And we never seem to run out of children who need our help.”

Backback donation
Seneca Falls Backpack Program president Lisa Garigen and Seneca Meadows community relations director Mark Benjamin

The Seneca Falls backpack program has lost a portion of Foodlink funding including a large cut in a hunger relief grant that the program usually receives and is grateful for any support for food at this time. The program now provides food for 85 children in the Seneca Falls School District.

Like many other aid organizations in the Finger Lakes, the program is a 100% volunteer organization, and Seneca Meadows provided supplies and equipment for volunteers a couple of years ago that are still in use and in great condition today.

“The backpack program sincerely thanks its valued partners Foodlink, Wal-Mart, Seneca Meadows, Seneca Falls Rotary Club, and numerous private individual donors along with St. Patrick’s Church for providing free storage space,” added Garigen.


New Beginnings Boutique Re-Opens in New Space

Boutique Front
The New Beginnings Boutique will reopen in new space at 103 Fall Street on Monday, April 7th at 11am.

The New Beginnings Boutique, a Project of the Seneca County House of Concern, has re-opened in new larger quarters just down the street from the original location. The new store will be nearly three times the size of the original with expanded mechandise. The store has been closed temporarily as preparations were made to move to the new location.

Boutique Show Rack
This shoe rack is among the additions in the new facility built by Board member Dave Saunders, who also made new counters, a dressing room and much more.

That enterprise has provided a new retail storefront in the downtown area, helping build traffic for all downtown businesses, and the sales generated by the Boutique provide funds to help stock the shelves in the food pantry. HOC Executive Director Diane Draheim says the store has been a great success both in terms of customer feedback and in sales. By getting a better return for the many high quality women’s clothing items donated to the HOC, the store has generated new revenues while offering a great shopping experience. Items can also be taken on consignment at the store.

From nearly opening day, New Beginnings Boutique store Manager Lynne Wimmer has been eager to expand to larger quarters. The new store is located at 103 Fall Street (although one consequence of the move is that the sign over the new building was made for the original store and still has the old address, a problem they hope to remedy soon).  The space for the store is being donated rent and utility free through the generosity of Bruce Bonafiglia and Bonadent.

Boutique April 1
The Boutique carries gently used high quality women’s clothing and accessories. The store accepts donations and consignments.

The new store is already refurbished and the “soft opening” will be held on Monday, April 7th at 11am. The store will then be open Wednesdays through Saturdays. Spring hours will be Wednesday, 10-5; Thursday and Friday, 11-6; and Saturday 11-4.

Dozens of people helped clean, paint and refurbish the new location in preparation of Monday’s opening. “It’s probably bad to start mentioning names since there are so many people to thank, but we do want to give a special thank you to Board members Dave and Bonnie Saunders and their extended family, and Denise and Greg Sarra, all of whom really went beyond the call of duty. They not only to put in many hours of labor themselves, but also to recruit others to help with the move. We could not possibly have made the move without all those folks,” said Wimmer.

The Boutique is one of the ways the House of Concern Board of Directors has met the rising needs for food in Seneca County. in January alone, the food pantry was able to furnish over 31,000 meals to hungry residents. “With growing need and cuts in funding, we are facing a double whammy,” says HOC Board President, Stephen Beals. “We are determined to keep our doors open for as long as there is a need. The New Beginnings Boutique is one small example of how we are thinking ‘outside of the box’ to meet those needs. Our recent very successful Traveling Little Black Dress Fashion show is another example. This Board and dozens of volunteers have spent hundreds of volunteer hours trying to raise much needed funds and think of new ways to engage the community. We owe a great deal to those volunteers and could not meet the need without their support and energy.”

The House of Concern is a partner agency of United Way of Seneca County.

Disclosure: Seneca Daily News Publisher Stephen Beals is Board President of the Seneca County House of Concern.

Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting Wednesday, July 17th

New Beginnings BoutiqueSeneca Chamber to Co-Host Ribbon Cutting Ceremony & Grand Opening for House of Concern’s New Beginnings Boutique

from Seneca Daily

The Seneca County Chamber of Commerce will co-host an upcoming ribbon cutting ceremony and grand opening event to celebrate the growth and expansion for one of its local members, the Seneca County House of Concern. New Beginnings Boutique is a newly opened consignment shop that is owned and operated by the House of Concern, and is managed by Lynn Wimmer.

The event will include photo opportunities with a short presentation, and will take place on Wednesday July 17 at 11:00am at New Beginnings Boutique, located at 91A Fall Street in Seneca Falls. The boutique will offer a 10% discount on any items purchased from Wednesday, July 17th through Saturday, July 20th. Light refreshments will be served to those in attendance.

HOClogoHouse of Concern Executive Director Diane Draheim stated her excitement for the expansion. “We are so pleased with this new venture, and really look forward to this open house event as an opportunity to open our doors to the
community, where local residents, businesses and community partners can stop in to see and hear firsthand what we are all about.”

The Seneca County Chamber of Commerce hopes for this exact same outcome.

“Ribbon Cutting and Open House Events are just one of the many services that we can offer to help enhance exposure for our members while marketing their businesses; and truly reap the benefits of Chamber Membership,” said Cassandra Harrington, the Chamber’s Membership Services Coordinator.

Left to Right, Bob Adkins, store manager of the New Beginnings Thrift Shop at the House of Concern on State Street, Lynne Wimmer, store manager for the New Beginnings Boutique on Fall Street, and Rev. Eleanor Collinsworth, House of Concern Board Treasurer and Chair of the Boutique Committee.

Draheim noted that the organization strives in continuing efforts towards greater awareness while participating in new projects that may result in
additional donations or other ways that benefit or assist with their causes. “Our goal is to never have to turn folks away that are in need,” she added.

The Seneca County House of Concern is a local non-profit organization established in 1969, and specializes in securing and providing food support, clothing, furniture and household items to those in need, while assisting
with other direct services such as providing advocacy for individuals.

The House of Concern joined the Chamber of Commerce in 2012 and already has taken advantage of several business and networking benefits that the Chamber provides. They were one of the local recipients to benefit from Finger Lakes Cork & Fork’s efforts towards combating hunger. Cork & Fork- a regional food, wine and agri-tourism event, is held each September at Rodman Lott & Son Farms in Seneca Falls and is managed by the Chamber. In 2012 the House of Concern was presented with a monetary donation as well as non perishable items that were collected from food drives arranged during event promotions. The 2013 Finger Lakes Cork & Fork festival will be held on Friday-Saturday, September 20-21.

Foodlink HOC
House of Concern Board members Rev. Eleanor Collinsworth and Phil Dressing distribute food at a recent Foodlink delivery.

For more information about Ribbon Cutting Ceremonies, and Open House events, or for more details about marketing opportunities within Chamber membership,
please contact the Seneca County Chamber of Commerce at (315) 568-2906 or visit

The Basics:

Grand Open House Event- Expansion Reception. New Beginnings Boutique consignment store, newly opened under the Seneca County House of Concern.

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony with photo opportunities: Wednesday, July 17, 2013 at 11am

New Beginnings Boutique, 91A Fall Street, Seneca Falls, NY 13148.

To offer the community an opportunity to view, shop and support the fight against hunger in Seneca County.

The boutique will offer a 10% discount on any items purchased from Wednesday, July 17th through Saturday, July 20th. Light refreshments will be served to those in attendance.

Shop details: The store will concentrate on selling high-end and designer clothes, handbags, shoes and jewelry for women.

Hours of Operation:
Wednesday 10am – 5pm
Thursday 11am – 6pm
Friday 11am – 6pm
Saturday 10am – 5pm

Please call 315.568.4401 for more information or visit

New Beginnings Boutique Now Open on Fall Street

NBB first sale
New Beginnings Boutique Store Manager Lynne Wimmer and House of Concern Executive Director Diane Draheim make a transaction at the new store, which will officially open on Wednesday on Fall Street, Seneca Falls.

There is a new retail business in downtown Seneca Falls and it won’t make a dime. But that’s the way it is intended to be. Instead of profits, all proceeds will go to feeding the hungry in Seneca County.

The Seneca County House of Concern, faced with a staggering growth in need and dwindling government funding will be opening the New Beginnings Boutique next door to Women Made Products and directly across Fall Street from Parkers restaurant.

The new venture will be run by store manager Lynne Wimmer. Wimmer joined the staff last month for the opening day on Wednesday, June 19th.  The staff of the House of Concern and volunteers worked for the past month preparing the space by tearing down walls, putting in new floors and creating a dressing room and sales counter.

HOC New Beginnings BoutiqueThe New Beginnings Boutique has begun accepting clothing as donations or on consignment. The plan is to buy clothing outright for resale. Persons with items for consignment are asked to make an appointment to have their clothing evaluated for possible purchases and to limit the number of items being offered to 15 pieces. The store concentrates on selling high-end and designer clothes, handbags, shoes and jewelry for women.

“This store will be quite different from the New Beginnings Thrift Store which shares space with the House of Concern food pantry on State Street,” says House of Concern Board President, Stephen Beals. “We’ll be looking for high-end merchandise and Lynne, Bob and the volunteers have been working hard to make the store an inviting place for bargain hunters. There’s a real trend for shopping at consignment stores, and we were very fortunate to find someone with the expertise and experience of Lynne to help us create a great little shop right in the middle of downtown Seneca Falls.”

Left to Right, Bob Adkins, store manager of the New Beginnings Thrift Shop at the House of Concern on State Street, Lynne Wimmer, store manager for the New Beginnings Boutique on Fall Street, and Rev. Eleanor Collinsworth, House of Concern Board Treasurer and Chair of the Boutique Committee.

But the bottom line for both New Beginnings stores is that all proceeds go directly for buying food for Seneca County’s hungry. Although the organization has been around since 1969, there has never been anywhere close to the number of food insecure families. “Our raw numbers of families and individuals served has more than doubled in the last five years, while at the same time our funding from government sources has been cut significantly. We simply had to make significant changes to respond to the growing needs in our community,” says House of Concern Executive Director Diane Draheim. “In May we were responsible for providing more than 17,000 meals for people in or county.”

The store opening on Wednesday was actually a “soft” opening, with a Grand Opening and Ribbon Cutting scheduled for July 17th.  The store hours on Wednesday will be from 11-5 and the store will be open Wednesdays through Saturdays. Wimmer says they will determine what hours they will be open based on store traffic and customer demand. The store is looking for volunteers with a strong retail background and great customer service skills who would like to offer their expertise to help with the new effort.

The New Beginnings Boutique is located at 91A Fall Street and the phone number is 316-568-4401.

Donation or Saving a Trip to the Dump?

Donation or Dump? Service agencies sometimes find themselves being used as a dumping ground for unusable items.

Area food pantries and thrift stores are delighted to receive good, usable household goods. The donations of such items not only help the consumers who cannot afford to pay full retail, but the income from the sale of these items helps pay for the heat and lights and often leaves some funds left over to purchase much needed food.

But using the drop-off points as an alternative to taking unusable items to the landfill only creates headaches for the agencies. Places like the Seneca Falls House of Concern have limited employees and volunteers, and having them spend time and gas money to haul unusable items away puts a strain on the agency’s resources. In addition, although many service agencies have bins or a shed where donors can leave items protected from the elements, many donors simply leave their items outside on the sidewalk where they can be damaged by weather.

Here are some tips for making donations:

1. Bring your donated items during regular hours when the agency is open if at all possible.

2. If you have large items, call ahead.

3. Only bring any items that are not broken, damaged or otherwise unusable.

4. Do not bring non-working electronic devices of any kind.

5. Put items inside the bin or storage shed.

6. If you think it might be trash, it probably is trash. Take it to the dump.

Disclosure: Seneca Daily News Publisher Stephen Beals serves on the Board of the Seneca County House of Concern.

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HOC Motorcycle Rally/BBQ Discussed on WNYR

Last month the House of Concern Food Pantry in Seneca Falls set the kind of record they don’t like to see: they singed up a record number of new families at 41.

In addition to the need for food donations to restock the shelves, the Ad Hoc Development Committee of the House of Concern has been busy coming up with fund-raising opportunities to help bring in much needed cash to buy food to supplement what is donated. There will be a motorcycle rally this Saturday beginning at 11am at People’s Park, followed by a Chicken BBQ at Dewey’s Party House on Auburn Road beginning at 4:30. Tickets for each event are $10. Cyclists can register beginning at 10am in People’s Park along the Canal in downtown Seneca Falls. Car drivers are also welcome to participate.

Diane Draheim and Jim Snow talked on Tuesday morning with Jim Schreck on WNYR 98.5 about the House of Concern and the upcoming Motorcycle Rally and Chicken BBQ this Saturday and other matters.

The House of Concern will also be holding a Car Wash Fund-raiser at the Five Star Bank at the corner of 414 and 5&20 on Saturday the 16th. Volunteers from the Seneca Falls United Methodist Church will be providing the elbow grease.

Click to listen to the WNYR interview.

Seneca County food pantry-98-5 WNYR

Thanks to Jim Schreck and WNYR for supplying the audio file.



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Donate Now Button Added

There is now a Donate Now button on our web site. The button provides a convenient and secure way to donate to the Seneca County House of Concern. We have carefully considered the best way to make use of the Internet and social media to help us with our mission of meeting the food needs of our community and have partnered with Donate Now to provide this service. The company is specifically set up to handle any size donation for not-for-profit organizations and charge a very minimal fee for setting up a secure, safe way to make an on-line donation. It is a much more cost-effective way of making donations because it saves us the postage and printing costs associated with our usual fund-raising methods. It also allows donors to enter any information about dedicating their gifts in memory of a loved one and can create a snail mail or email acknowledgement for your gift. It also allows you to make your gift anonymously.

We hope our donors will be happy with this solution, and we look forward to continuing to meet the needs of our community in the most efficient and responsible manner possible. Thanks to all who contribute som much in time and  financial resources to help in this important effort.