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Natural Awakenings Westchester / Putnam / Dutchess New York

Red Hook Responds Helps Neighbors Help Neighbors

May 25, 2021 09:25PM ● By Marilee Burrell

Red Hook responders assembling meals for delivery to homes.

Like many local businesses, Taste Budd’s Café—a catering and concession service in Red Hook—essentially stopped in March 2020. So chef and owner Dan Budd got busy helping people. What began as an effort to feed people in lockdown evolved into Red Hook Responds, an organization that helps community members help each other.
“I recruited mostly teens, including my co-founder, Chris Donohue, to help build an online system to organize volunteers as well as a web page and telephone helpline to accept help requests,” Budd says. “My first role as a chef was to figure out how to feed people who needed to stay home. My mission was to also offer a place for volunteerism to support and enhance ongoing good in our communities. The intention is to share generosity and have all services offered free for anyone in need.”  
Red Hook Responds offers prepared dinner meals daily, food pantry bag deliveries, neighborly chats, grocery and pharmacy errands, walkway snow shoveling, vaccine appointment assistance, Veggie Table (vegetable garden) installations, virtual tutoring, and volunteers to assist with any other ongoing good. 
The ultimate goal, he says, is to “shine a bright light of hope, trust and faith on people working hard together for no reason other than lifting each other up.”
Since Red Hook Responds began, 645 volunteers have enrolled, although only about 150 are currently active, Budd says. “We are still 100 percent volunteer run. As a new nonprofit corporation of New York State, we currently have shift leaders for every help service offered, plus many other roles like operations supervisors and a board of directors.”
He says it’s important to understand that “every person can be generous in one way or another to support ongoing good. That good has no boundaries, and we can all develop good community habits to support those in need. What friends do for each other is what Red Hook Responders do for anyone every day.” Donations are always appreciated, he adds. They can be made through the organization’s web page.

For more info or to donate, visit