With two gifts from the Rotary Club of the Tarrytowns, students and community members of Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow will reap the benefits of their charitable donations.
“The Rotary is celebrating their 100th anniversary and they wanted to do something to make a significant gift that would benefit both villages,” shared Chris Borsari, Rotarian and Superintendent for Tarrytown and Sleepy Hollow School District.
After raising $25,000 over a three-month period, the Rotary Club of the Tarrytowns decided to fund two projects: a Press Box and a Little Free Pantry.
The Press Box
The Press box, situated on the bleachers of the Sleepy Hollow High School’s football field, is a major upgrade from the previous installment.
“It is lightyears ahead of what we had, and it’s definitely one of the nicest press boxes in the area,” shared Michael Arias, Sleepy Hollow High School’s Athletic Director.
With its aesthetic appeal and advanced features, the Press Box has elevated the game-playing and game-watching experience since it opened in the 2020-2021 school year.
“It allows us to do things on game days, like stream music, and we have really nice speakers attached to the Press Box. We have also been able to add a local live streaming service and we have a local live camera that’s attached to the Press Box,” shared Arias.
Aside from game-day improvements, this technology has proven to be a huge benefit during the pandemic. Not only does it allow for events to be streamed socially distanced at home, but it has also helped with the transition to outdoor events.
“Because of Covid, we started doing more things outside than ever. So the Press Box has been a sort of a command center for a lot of those outdoor events that historically have been inside,” Borsari explained.
With the official unveiling being postponed due to Covid -19, a ribbon cutting ceremony took place on July 25, 2022, to celebrate the donation.
“We got a really good turnout…we [the Rotarians] even got a special viewing up on the very top of it. Wow, those views are amazing… and it’s funny, because they were saying that the speaker system is so amazing, and I’ve been down at the riverfront walking on the Riverwalk, and I’ve heard them announcing the play-by-play,” shared Rotarian JoAnne Murray.
The Press Box has already made a positive impact on the community, and it will continue to serve students and eventgoers for years to come.
“We are always so grateful and appreciative to the Rotary for their support of our kids…[and] our programs throughout the years,” shared Borsari.
The Little Free Pantry
“Take what you need,” and, “give what you can.”
During the height of Covid -19, the Rotary Club raised funds to help those who suffer from food insecurity, and even after the pandemic burdens lessened, they realized that the problem is still ongoing.
The Little Free Pantry, located on the lawn of the Tarrytown Village Hall, addresses two issues: food insecurity and the shame surrounding it.
“The concept is that there are people who might be embarrassed to go to an actual place where you can stand in line and where people see you. But they need help. So, the concept is that you would put non-perishable items in this little pantry, and they can go at midnight, when no one’s going to know they’re there…they can go wherever they want,” explained Murray.
The idea was conceived by Larah Alami, Rotarian and Hudson River Eye Care business owner, who read about the benefits of a “little free pantry.”
“It was started by a woman in Arkansas in 2016 as just a small pilot project, and then over the years it’s grown…I read a story about it on social media a few years ago and have always been mulling [it] around in the back of my head [thinking on] how could we make this happen in Tarrytown,” shared Alami.
Last summer, Alami discovered through the Rotary Club that there were grants available for the district. After applying and being granted the funds, the project was launched in the fall of 2021.
“One of the Rotary members is the cabinet maker in town [Antonio Cabinetry], so we used him to build the pantry, and we used another local business, Sign Extreme, to do the signs,” shared Alami.
The food pantry will be open 24/7 and Rotary Club members will be responsible for checking its supply and purchasing food to restock from online donatio
“My hope going forward is that we get different community groups, like the Cub Scouts, even just families and different organizations, to sort of take a shift at the pantry and watch it…and refill it,” shared Alami.
As of now, the food pantry isn’t stocked and running just yet. The official ribbon cutting ceremony will take place on Wednesday, June 22, and welcomes Rotarians, local politicians, and community members to the unveiling.
“Hopefully people start to take advantage of it as we get the word out,” shared Murray.
Since the pantry addresses several crucial issues related to food insecurity, Murray, Alami and other Rotarians believe that community members will take advantage of the discrete pick-ups and feel inclined to contribute to the cause, whether that’s donating, monitoring, or dropping non-perishables off themselves.
“The Rotary has really been devoted to food insecurity for years, and I think this is just one other small facet that we’re bringing to the table with the pantry,” shared Alami.