Volunteer Spotlight: Missy Palmisciano, Founder of County Harvest

In 2009, County Harvest was started by one woman’s efforts to make use of fruits, vegetables and other foods that are routinely discarded by supermarkets.

One of the biggest questions that looms over the heads of so many when it comes to helping others is to ponder whether or not one person can really make a difference in the lives of many. 

For Missy Palmisciano, she never once doubted her ability to lend herself to become a conduit between rescuing food that was to be discarded by hundreds of grocery stores and getting it into the hands of those that need it most, assisting some of Westchester County's most vulnerable citizens.

County Harvest was born two years ago, and it is a non-profit food rescue organization serving Westchester County.

“There was kind of a snowball affect,” said Palmisciano as she describes how her initial act of kindness blossomed into a full fledged non-profit agency.

“It was just gratifying bringing food to that first food bank, then it got to the point where I was doing it everyday, and pretty soon I realized I would need to find more volunteers because the need just kept growing,” recalled Palmisciano who also stated that, "nobody likes to see perfectly good food go to waste."

The food banks and other agencies she delivers food to are not just getting the usual day old bread and donuts. County Harvest is primarily about bringing fruits and vegetables to various food banks around the county. Everything from dairy to meat is also delivered seven days a week by a team of over 100 volunteers county wide.

Her efforts have not gone unnoticed either, as a van was recently donated to her organization by Christ Church in Pelham, giving County Harvest even more resources as they attempt to deliver as much food as possible.

According to their Web site countyharvest.org, the organization currently rescues excess food from over 39 hotels, restaurants, caterers, supermarkets, bagel shops, bakeries, beverage distributors and private clubs and delivers it to soup kitchens, food pantries and homeless shelters in Westchester County.

Palmisciano also says that the economic crisis has definitely increased the need that is out there for food banks to feed all of the people who desperately need their services.

In New Rochelle alone, there are a number of businesses that assist in this effort such as , and the Bagel Zone. 

Agencies such as Hope Community Services, , and have all been the recipients of County Harvest’s deliveries of vegetables, fruits and more, all made possible by the initial efforts of one woman.

“After being a stay at home mom for a time, I had hoped that if I was to find another career that it wouldn’t feel like work,” joked Palmisciano who despite the hours she puts into her organization, still feels instantly the huge rewards and satisfaction of her efforts.

“My hope is that not only can we cover all of Westchester eventually, but also that other people will feel a desire to start doing this in other counties across New York,” said Palmisciano.

County Harvest is always in need of more volunteers who may be able to spend just a few hours picking up and then delivering food to food banks and other agencies in all areas of Westchester.

“One volunteer simply picks up the food and drops it off on her way to work so the commitment does not have to be great,” said Palmisciano.

To volunteer for County Harvest, email them at help@countyharvest.org or email Palmisciano directly at Missy@countyharvest.org or call 914-548-0790.


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