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