Needs Assessment Tells a Story of Challenge and Opportunity

Model neighborhood with the text "Community Needs Assessement"

Red Hook Community Center and Red Hook Responds release the findings from the 2022/2023 Community Needs Assessment covering the greater Red Hook and Rhinebeck area. The findings were presented at two public meetings by Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress, the author of the Assessment:

What: CNA Results Presentation #1
Where: Red Hook Community Center, 59 Fisk Street, Red Hook, NY
When: Thursday September 7th, 2023, at 5:30 pm

What: CNA Results Presentation #2
Where: Rhinebeck Town Hall, 80 E. Market Street, Rhinebeck, NY
When: Thursday September 14th, 2023, at 6:00 pm

The full assessment can be found HERE.

The goal of the community needs assessment is to identify the vulnerabilities in our communities and to suggest ways where we can help each other to live full and healthy lives in our Red Hook and Rhinebeck communities. Input was solicited to get an understanding of the obstacles community members saw for themselves and others.

Ugolini said: “While there are not many surprises in the results, this report gives the community a clearer picture of where our neighbors find challenges in living here.” Smythe added, “This report gives both of our organizations a clear picture where we can look to expand our services with the greatest impact.” Ugolini added: “This report is for everyone from residents, to other nonprofits, to government officials at all levels, to look at how we can work together to make our communities better for all of our residents.”

Red Hook Community Center and Red Hook Responds, with the support of the Dyson Foundation, the Mary Norris Preyer Foundation, the Thomas Thompson Trust, the Town of Red Hook, the Village of Red Hook, the Town of Rhinebeck, and the Village of Rhinebeck commissioned Hudson Valley Pattern for Progress to conduct this community needs assessment.

Red Hook Community Center fosters inclusive community participation by providing an environmentally sound facility for arts, education, recreation, celebration and locally based human services to increase opportunity for personal and collective growth in our community.

Red Hook Responds, founded in 2020 to meet the needs of the community during the Covid-19 pandemic, continues its mission to work together to help our community by organizing volunteers and providing essential resources and services to help those in need. RHR accomplishes this mission through programs that support food security, agriculture, inclusion, emergency relief, equality, and upcycling to reduce environmental impact. RHR strives to support continuing efforts and expanding services with thoughtfulness toward the community based on need, resources, and volunteerism. 

As Fair Teardown Begins, Food Rescue Project Ramps Up, Collecting 700 Pounds of Leftovers

Food recovery from Dutchess County Fair

The Daily Catch covered Red Hook Responds and FeedHV’s recovery of leftover food from the Dutchess County Fair:

As the Dutchess County Fair teardown of rides, booths and farm barns launched Sunday night, another team was ramping up at the bustling fairgrounds. Their goal: to save as many food leftovers as possible for distribution around the area to people in need.

A team of volunteers organized by Red Hook Responds and FeedHV, two organizations that work on food-security issues in the area, collected more than 700 pounds of food from dozens of fair vendors in the second year of a program with a secondary objective of preventing food waste.

“We were pleased to have the support of the fairgrounds team,” said Bianca Verrilli, the executive director of Red Hook Responds, who added that the total food poundage collected this year was up substantially from a year ago. “They were kind enough to distribute materials about the program to food vendors in advance.”

The Daily Catch

Read the full article HERE.

William Abela & CJ’s Pizzeria

William Abela, owner of CJ’s Pizzeria

Every so often a meme floats around the internet titled “Heroes don’t always wear capes.” Red Hook Responds is fortunate enough to be the recipient of one hero’s generosity: William Abela, owner of CJ’s Pizzeria in Rhinebeck. From its inception, RHR’s dinners have included pizza DONATED by CJ’s Pizzeria. At the height of the pandemic, William was baking and donating 35-40 pies each week for those in need. He also donated enough boxes each week for individual dinners so that RHR would not have to bear the expense. Post-pandemic his generosity continues on a bi-weekly basis, providing anywhere from nine to twenty pies and boxes to those served by Red Hook Responds.

RHR’s New Leadership

Image of Bianca Verrilli, Leslie Pulver, and Madison Curry, RHR's executive director, executive chef, and volunteer coordinator respectively.

We are delighted to announce the hiring of three staff members as the organization looks to the future of serving the Red Hook and Rhinebeck Communities. RHR founded in 2020 to meet the needs of the community during the Covid-19 pandemic continues its

RHR’s new Executive Director is Bianca Verrilli. Bianca is a Red Hook native who has a wealth of experience in non-profit management and development, locally and around the world. She is a member of the board of directors at the Red Hook Community Center. As the new Executive Director, she will be tasked with managing the operations of RHR, marketing and growing our services, and guiding our organization into the future.

RHR has also hired Madison Curry to fill the newly created position of Volunteer Coordinator. Madison is relatively new to Red Hook, with a background in the restaurant industry, operations management, as well as theater and voice over work. As their new Volunteer Coordinator, Madison will be charged with managing RHR’s volunteer work force including recruiting, onboarding, training, and leading the volunteers who power every part of RHR.

RHR’s third “new” hire has been with RHR from the very beginning. Many in our community have known Chef Leslie Pulver for years (another Red Hook native!) and are aware of her contributions preparing meals for RHR since they started operating in 2020. In June, RHR made it official and hired Leslie as their Executive Chef. Her creativity, skill, and industriousness in the kitchen have been a credit to their organization from the beginning and will continue to be in the future.

Please join us in welcoming and supporting these new leaders of RHR as they bring the organization forward.

Red Hook Responds Receives $8500 Grant from Elks Lodge

Red Hook Responds Members at the Elks Lodge

Red Hook Responds, under the leadership of Founder Daniel Budd and Interim Executive Director Nevill Smythe, was honored at an Elks-sponsored breakfast on March 18. The organization was awarded an $8500 grant from the Elks National Foundation for their work to address food insecurity during and beyond the pandemic. In addition, to honor the relationship between the Elks and Red Hook Responds, Mr. Budd presented a plaque to Rick Belcher, Exalted Ruler of the local lodge with sincere thanks for the partnership that began three years ago and continues to this day. Without the Elks, RHR would not be able to prepare and assemble the nearly 1,000 meals that are distributed monthly to residents of Red Hook, Rhinebeck, Tivoli, and Milan.

Red Hook Responds began during the early days of Covid to “keep things bright” for people who were both vulnerable and scared. At its peak, the organization had 700 volunteers serving the community by providing meals, grocery/prescription delivery, and neighborhood chats by phone as primary activities. As Mr. Budd explained, he approached the Elks in 2020 to request use of the lodge “for a few days” as a meal prep and distribution center. As the days stretched into weeks, months, and finally years, Red Hook Responds recognized the community partnership as indispensable to its mission. The Elks lodge houses a commercial kitchen, large event room, and hook up to the RHR walk-in refrigerator for the prepared meals; their parking lot is the distribution point for RHR drivers to pick up meals five-six times a week for its recipients.

In addition to the generous grant, the Elks awarded Nevill Smythe its “Citizen of the Year” for his tireless work with Red Hook Responds. Mr. Smythe has served as Interim Executive Director while the organization conducts a search for a permanent Director. To learn more about Red Hook Responds including becoming a volunteer or donor, please visit its website