You are Invited to a Book Signing!

Please join me at the Mower’s Meadow Flea Market at 10:00 a.m. this coming Saturday, September 22nd  where I’ll be reading from my recently published book, “I Don’t Hang Out in Churches Anymore” and there will be a book signing  for you at that time.

Light Refreshments will be Served!

I hope you can make it to this book signing on Saturday morning.  The author talk will be interesting. The chocolate brownies promise to be delicious!  My pen will not run out of ink.

My daughter, Michele Garner, designed the cover.  My writing teacher, Cullen Thomas, came up with the title.

And, of course, what better location for the book signing  than the Mower’s Meadow Flea Market?

Then, after the author talk and the book signing, you can visit all the booths at the market!

Look forward to seeing you!

Thurman


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Come Celebrate With Me!

It’s OUT!  It’s in print!  The story has been told!  And you can get a copy of the book.  Today!  Right now!  Simply go to thurmangreco.com and order it on paypal.

Or, you can get it at a book signing.  I’m reading my book in libraries and church halls and in  independent book stores.  Check my website to find a time and place convenient for you.

What began as a project, guaranteed to take no more than two hours a month, is a calling.  Proceeds of the sale of this book (and the t-shirt) are going to feed the hungry.

The Book and the T-Shirt:

The book and the t-shirts took more than five years of work.  I went through reams and reams of paper.  Two computers blew up and one copier died of exhaustion.

Get the book, read it, and let me know how you feel about what you read.

And, please share this unbelievably exciting news!

Thank you,

Thurman Greco

thurmangreco.com

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Over at Maria’s in the Summer as Rick hunts Mushrooms

vegetable soup

Today, I was at Maria’s early.  We went for breakfast there because I’m convinced she’s got the best breakfast in town.  So, I’m over there every chance I get.  For meals other than breakfast, Maria has homemade pastas with her own special sauces.  Special oriental dishes are prepared fresh daily and fresh cooked salmon is on the menu always.

But, Maria’s has more to offer than authentic Italian food and fabulous breakfasts.  I saw several people seated at tables both inside the restaurant and outside on the patio under the shade of  trees and umbrellas.  The unspoken rule is this:  When I see a small group of people at a table away from   everyone else, I just pretend they aren’t there.

After all, we all need a quiet, private place to visit, work out a deal, network, try to get a vote in a local project…or whatever.  Woodstock is a small town and if we don’t go to Maria’s then the only other option is someplace in Kingston like Florentina.

So, when I saw a group of three women at a table with stacks of papers sporting attached colorful tabs, I just went to the other side of the patio.

But, this was morning.  Afternoons are the same at Maria’s…only different.  In the afternoons, I see local residents sitting at tables just being themselves without attracting attention.  Woodstock has a lot of stardust of one kind or another.  And, sometimes people enjoy just not being noticed.

After all, if a person wants attention,  the place to go is Bread Alone to  order a coffee, and look for connection.

The bar at Landau grill offers another place for conversation and connection.

A third place is  Catskill Mountain Pizza.  People gather there and visit with one another over a slice of pizza,  sub sandwich,  salad.

A place which can be a kind of mix  in the summertime is the Wednesday afternoon Farm Market festival.  Locals and tourists alike  wander among the stalls, focus on the food at hand and wear invisible  blinders.  Last Wednesday, I saw more than a few musicians, actors, artists, writers, activists simply being themselves.  No one was disturbing them.  I’m convinced that some of them have learned to be “invisible” to others when they want to be alone for a little while.

Everyone blended together.  Some shopped alone while others enjoyed hugs, gossip.  Both groups looked forward to  the promise of a perfect meal made up of gorgeous food purchased here.

One person having a rough time being invisible, though, is Rick the Mushroom Hunter.  He can be tracked down at every Farm Market Festival.  The mushrooms he sells  must be discovered in the forest.  This requires a special person.

Rick is just that person.  He doesn’t have a booth because he carries his prizes in a small cardboard box.

Throughout the summer, Rick may offer

morels,

yellow oysters,

chantrelles,

black trumpets,

hens of the woods.

These prized  jewels  are gifts  from the wild.  They have a different aroma, color, texture, energy from their domesticated cousins.

A meal including one of Rick’s discoveries is transformed into a mystical, magical creation.  The dining experience becomes spiritual so the soul is fed as well as the body.

How long has it been since you prepared a dish with one of these wild, wonderful gifts of nature?

That’s tooo long!

Thanks for reading this  blog post.  Please refer this article to your preferred social media network.

Thurman Greco


Gender Neutral Restrooms in Woodstock?

psychedelic glasses

On weekends, Woodstock is one crowded place.  This famous little town has much to offer:

Mowers Meadow Flea Market

Gwen’s Gems

Bread Alone

Houst

Maria’s Bazaar

Byrdcliffe

Woodstock Artists’ Association Museum

The Woodstock Drum Circle

Assorted festivals, and other weekend events throughout the year help boost the crowd.

Once you hit town, it helps to know where the restrooms are…especially because there aren’t that many and they aren’t that well advertised.  And, if it’s a gender neutral restroom you’re looking for, you may be disappointed.

The Sunflower has a restroom  located behind the produce department.  It’s used by employees, grocery shoppers, residents,  and tourists alike.   This is one busy place.

There is a public restroom in a cinder block building next to the Chamber of Commerce information stand.  This building is located right at the beginning of Rock City Road.  On busy days, you may miss it because this is where the famous tie dyed Woodstock T-shirts are sold.  The T-shirt display is actually in front of the entrance to the women’s room.

If you’re looking for a restroom during the winter…forget this one.  It closes every year after November 30th  and doesn’t open again until April 15th.

The Town Hall has a  restroom although the location in the building is not that easy to find.  It’s there, though.

The Woodstock Free Library has a restroom located  just past the children’s area.  This is actually a nice one but the library isn’t open everyday.

And, that’s about it.  The whole thing can be a bit discouraging if you have bought into the attitude Woodstockers seem to have about being on the cutting edge of every trend and attitude.

Of course, if you are eating at Landau,  or Oriole 9, you don’t have to worry.  They have facilities for their customers.

But that’s a bit of a challenge for the rest of us.  A good thing to do is to buy a cup of coffee and a pastry at Maria’s and use the restroom there.  While you’re shopping for your coffee and pastry, you just might catch sight of a local celebrity which will make for a good story when you return home.

Another option is to ask to use the restroom at the CVS.  It’s not a public restroom but the employees are sympathetic to your cause and, if the cash register lines aren’t too long, they’ll  unlock the private restroom.

Please note:  Try to leave it as clean as you found it.  If it gets  dirty too many times, they may suspend this service.

I’m really hopeful for our future here.  Trends in the area are toward gender neutral bathrooms and this is just the kind of thing Woodstockers can understand.  Gender neutral bathrooms are turning up in some neat places.The new Honest Weight Food Coop in Albany has a spiffy gender neutral restroom.   The Whitney Museum in New York City has a gender neutral restroom also.

Hope springs eternal here.  And, actually, we’ve got a better chance at a gender neutral restroom  than we have at additional sidewalks.

Thanks for reading this blog post.  The story is true and the people are real.

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Thurman Greco

Photograph donated by Renee Ruwe

 

 

 

 


Konrad Ryushin Marchaj – Woodstock Hero for Hunger

prayer flags

It seems only yesterday that we sent you an appeal for support.   We were a band of 4 people who barely knew each other, embarked on an adventure, a quest.  None of us mentioned it, not even to each other…but you were our only hope.

We were processing a 501(c)3 to open the Reservoir Food Pantry.  And, until it came through, we needed a sponsor willing to share theirs.  So, you got the letter, and invited us to lunch at Zen Mountain Monastery so we could meet and make our appeal.  We joined you at your table on Sunday, October 27, 2013.

We begged, really, but you never let on.  We went away that afternoon energized by your openness, professionalism, interest, concern.  Eventually you did what you did and we received the support from your group.

You gave us a raft on which we floated until we got our own 501(c)3 and gained acceptance with the Food Bank of the Hudson Valley.

So, today, as a result of your efforts, there is now a pantry on Route 28 in the Ashokan Reservoir area of Ulster County in New York serving over  area households every Monday afternoon at 2 and every Tuesday morning at 9.

The majority of these people are seniors.  For the most part, they have worked and lived all their lives in this area.  They paid their taxes, raised their children, and contributed to their community.  And now, in the 21st century they are finding  they don’t have the resources to feed themselves.  They constitute the senior citizen faction of the new 21st century Struggling Class.

The pantry volunteers  look forward to serving the hungry for many years to come.   They’ve had the last year to become a very dedicated and close knit group.  The community appears to accept the services offered by these very special people.

IN CONCLUSION:  Thank you Konrad Ryushin Marchaj for all you have done for yourself and your fellow man.  I saw you change the world around you for the better.  That counts for a lot in my book.

I wish you well on your continued journey of spiritual growth.  I am proud to have been touched by you.  On behalf of all the hungry people volunteers feed weekly, I offer gratitude.  It is an honor and a pleasure.

I cannot thank you enough for your trust, your support, and your confidence in our humble venture

http://www.zmm.mro.org

http://www.reservoirfoodpantry.org

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Please refer this article to your preferred social media network.  And, please forward this article to your interested friends.  More people in this world need to know about the goodness of  Konrad Ryushin and the volunteers of the Reservoir Food Pantry.

Thurman Greco


Dr. Wayne Longmore – Woodstock Hero for Hunger

Angel 1It hangs on a wall in my living room, my daughter’s self portrait.

Larger than life, the piece shows 1 eye, her nose and mouth.

Just beginning her studies at the Corcoran, Jennette wasn’t comfortable painting an entire face.  A photography major, she was painting for the first time in her life.

Sometimes I sit in my chair with my 3 Chihuahuas and just look at the painting for several minutes when I come home from the pantry.  So much of this painting is relevant to what I’m doing now, what the pantry shoppers are experiencing.

As people travel the path to a pantry, they lose things.  One shopper recently gave me 3 paintings.  He was offloading personal possessions and just didn’t want to see them go in the dumpster.  I featured one of them in posts for months.

I also have paintings given to me by other shoppers.  If I stay in this business long enough, I’ll end up with a whole gallery.  That actually happened to Dr. Wayne Longmore, the absolute best physician in the area.

There’s a moral in this story somewhere for me.  I’m just not sure what it is yet.

Dr. Longmore, an Emergency Medicine specialist, was a Woodsstock physician.  He practiced by himself, without the help of a receptionist or nurse.  He was favored by artists, writers, musicians as well as many other people from around the area.  Artists went to him with their health issues and he treated them with dignity and respect, whether or not they had $$$.  Most of them had no $$$ so, when he worked to make them well, they brought over paintings.

Dr. Longmore finally had the best local art collection in the area.  The paintings and sculptures disappeared from his office after he was arrested.  I never learned the real story of what happened.

The public story was that he prescribed too many painkillers…too much Oxycodone.  The FBI Report referred to the product as hydrocodone.  Well, the public stories in the papers aren’t always the whole story or even a piece of a story.  I know that from personal experience.

Dr. Longmore and I knew a lot of the same people.  He healed them.  The pantry fed them.  Without even trying, I knew more or less who was on what.  How could I not know?  I saw them every week under fairly intimate circumstances.

I only knew 2 people on Oxycodone.  And, one of those 2 was trying to sell the stuff.  So, they can’t blame Dr. Longmore for that.

He was sentenced to 6 months house arrest, 3 years probation, 200 hours community service and fined $200,000.00.  The real punishment went to the poor in Woodstock who now have nowhere to go for a doctor.  It puts a lot of pressure on the Healthcare as a Human Right group.

His office, just down from Lori’s cafe, sat empty for the longest time…the office at 104 Mill Hill Road.  It was adorned with a sad “for sale” sign.  I think of Dr. Longmore every time I pass by.  I remember his beautiful art collection, all the down and out people he served, all the good the man did for the needy in Woodstock.

Last Winter,  the For Sale sign disappeared.  As spring approached, workers began to fix up the office both inside and out.

While this happened, Lori’s became Nana’s and several other stores in the little complex changed hands.  EvolveD expanded and   Fringe moved down one space.     Venus Adorned, a corset/dress shop  opened recently.  Ed Dempsey Tattoos is in the upstairs space.  I joke to myself about musical businesses.

The building  at the other end of the complex sports several Win Morrison signs while the businesses within still have their signs.  One, IDivide, raises questions about whether or not someone is trying to run a business in the midst of it all.

Only 2 spaces have appeared to stay the same:  Woodstock Wooden Kazoo and Woodstock Print Express.  They are the anchor stores.

Now, Dr. Longmore’s old office has a new coat of paint and other improvements.  Plants in pots placed beside the door encourage a prospective new tenant.  A “For Rent” sign is in one of the windows.

The whole area is being gentrified.  When I look around, I see 3 banks and a theater surrounding the building and I  realize that Woodstock now has an emerging  financial/theater district surrounding  Dr. Longmore’s old office.

So, I suppose the down-and-out patients – artists, writers – would seem out of place in the newly transitioned area.

In spite of the paint, the sign and the plants, the building  sits empty, a monument commemorating those in Woodstock who unfailingly give of themselves.  Frankly, I don’t care if they ever rent it.

www.woodstockwoodenkazoos.com

www.cometowoodstock.com/fringe-hair-design-Woodstock

www.evolvedesigngallery.net

www.facebook/express.12498

Artwork donated by Jennette Nearhood

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Thurman Greco


A Swimsuit Summer in Woodstock

Butterfly

Summer in Woodstock can be mystical and magical.  Tourists flock to the town almost every day leaving $$$ in the stores and taking shopping bags with them.  It wasn’t always this way.  Between 2008 and 2012, shopping bags were scarce as unicorns.  People came, walked around town, got in their cars, and took off.

But, no more.  At the very least, they buy a cone at Taco Juan’s, a necklace at Gwen’s Gems and a coffee at Bread Alone.  I’m happy to see them.  And, I’m  extremely happy to see the shopping bags they carry.  When people leave carrying  shopping bags in their hands, we have a good chance of not looking at too many vacant store fronts next winter.

Two places the tourists don’t know much about are Maria’s and Harmony.  We residents can enjoy our town without too many of the tourists gawking when we visit those 2 places.

Maria’s, located across from Bread Alone and behind Sparkles,  has the best breakfast in town.  I love the place and wish I could go everyday but somehow that never happens.  I’m in the breakfast crowd but Maria’s also has wonderful food for lunch or dinner.  The pasta dishes are created with  pastas made in her daughter’s own Bella Pasta factory on Route 28.   Her salmon is to “die” for.  I love her desserts.

I occasionally go into Harmony, the local music cafe located on Mill Hill Road.  It’s right across the street from Catskill Mountain Pizza.  I occasionally go into Harmony on Monday or Tuesday evenings for a dinner of oriental food and I feel like I own the place.  No one else is in the dining room.  I usually arrive about 6:15 and the evening poetry readings or music event hasn’t begun yet.

The most summer fun event to be had in town costs not 1 cent and it’s not on Tinker Street.  The most summer fun to be had is at the corner of Tannery Brook, Ohayo Mountain Road and Millstream  Road.  Actually, it’s under the bridge there.

That’s where the summer swimming hole is.  Most of the bathers  walk past my parking lot on Tannery Brook and then past the Inn on the Millstream.  .  Young, mostly, with tiny swimsuits, they’re excited about an afternoon and early evening in the water and on the banks of the stream.  It’s a procession marked by skin, water,  and the promise of a summer moon.

Most of the excitement comes down the street as they head to the stream.  But, they don’t all walk down Tannery Brook.  Some of them drive up Millstream  Road and park along the edge of the pavement just before they get to the bridge.

And, they don’t all arrive wearing tiny swimsuits.    Some of them, the ones I used to see at the pantry every week,  don’t have the luxury of a swimsuit so they enjoy the water in their street clothes.

Every summer day, one of Woodstock’s Colorful Characters walks carefully down to the stream…alone and barefooted.  He makes a point of either getting to the stream ahead of everyone or arriving last after the place has emptied out so he can enjoy the beauty of the place, the cleansing effect of the water, all to himself.

But, swimsuit or not, after an afternoon playing in the water, they walk back on Taannery Brook much slower than when they came.  Whatever they wear will dry on its own in the summer heat.

These warm summer days and summer moons are to be enjoyed, cherished really.  For, all too soon, we’ll be wearing our new winter boots.  A seasonal ritual practiced by Woodstockers each fall is to show up in town wearing winter boots right after Labor Day.

When the winter boots come out, the swimsuit summer days punctuated by skin, water, and summer moons become a memory…maybe even less.

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Photography by Renee Ruwee

Thurman Greco

 


George, George, Richard, Vito, Alex and…Another Woodstock Secret

snowy branch

Ahhhhhhh

We all have an idea of things we’d like to find in heaven.

For me…if I had my druthers, I’d have jazz on Sunday mornings.

Well, now I don’t have to wait to die and try to sweet talk St. Peter into letting me get into heaven to hear the Sunday Morning Jam.

Because…

Sunday Morning Jam is alive and well in Woodstock.

It’s FREE and it’s at Upstate Films.

All you have to do is show up a little after 10 on Sunday morning and enjoy the fun until about 2:00.

Today they played until about noon and then had a coffee break.  They offered me coffee.  Can you imagine that?  They not only let me in free but they offered me coffee!

Jazz was offered by George on keyboard, George on drums, Rich on clarinet,  Vito on horns, and Alex on drums.

Amaretta came – a true diva singer.

I enjoyed Angel Eyes, St. Louis Blues, The Girl from Ipanema, At the Mambo Inn, Everytime We Say Goodbye, Ask Me Now,  among other favorites. The music changes over time as the players change.

“New artists are welcome to come and try out songs with us” George said.  “We’re open here.  We’re all about playing  and sharing music.  It’s how we all get better.”  This attitude takes us all back to music as it was played in the ’70s.  Famous musicians made themselves available to the younger and newer ones.  It was a way of life for musicians.  It was a lifestyle.  It was a vibe.

This vibe looms large over the whole theater on Sunday mornings.

Come join in the fun.  Sunday Morning Jam at Upstate films is a special  bit of heaven.  The rotating roster of musicians makes it very easy to be a regular.

Thanks for reading this blog.  The information shared here is absolutely true.  The people are real.

http://www.upstatefilms.org

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Thurman Greco


An Open Letter to Froma Harrop – a Hero for Hunger

Page0004 (1)

Dear Ms. Harrop – I enjoyed reading your article in the Friday, June 19, 2015, Daily Freeman Newspaper entitled “Why we still need public libraries.”  Thank you for writing about such a important  subject.  I periodically blog  about this issue in one of my blogs.  In fact, I discussed this subject just a month ago on a May 20, 2015 post of this blog.

Woodstock, NY, has been debating  if/how to modernize our library since about 2007.

Your arguments in favor of  public   libraries are  all relevant as far as they go. However, I feel that you omitted  arguments touching on the heart of the most pressing need for continuing their existence.

Libraries are lifelines for the new Struggling Class – a growing group of people experiencing poverty to such an extent that a local library is  essential  in ways we never before imagined.

For starters, libraries  offer clean restrooms.  In our community of approximately  10,000 residents (if you count both the full time residents and the weekenders), there are very few public restrooms.

We have  a public restroom just up the street from our village green which closes each year on November 30th  and does not reopen until April 15th.

Our recently renovated Town Hall has public restrooms.

Family of Woodstock has a public restroom.

And, the Woodstock Free Library has one.

That’s it.  The homeless and the struggling poor don’t have the funds to duck  into a local cafe and buy a cup of coffee in order to get access to a restroom.  They rely on the services offered in their communities.  This always includes the restroom at the library.

Libraries offer a place to get in out of the cold, the heat, the wet.  They offer an opportunity to sit in a chair and read a newspaper or a magazine.  This is  important to the many categories of poverty ridden:

disabled,

generational poor,

hardworking poor,

homeless,

mentally ill,

persistent poor,

resource poor,

senior citizens,

situational poor,

terminally ill poor,

transient poor,

underemployed poor

unemployed poor,

veterans.

The Woodstock Library has computers.    When I visit the library  they are always being used.

For those  without  a computer, the library is  a  lifeline to the world.  Nowadays, computers are needed to:

apply for a job

find housing

make a medical appointment

apply for benefits such as social security, SNAP, unemployment compensation

find a food pantry

find a soup kitchen

find a bus schedule

This is just the basic list.  I’m sure  the people using a library computer can give several more reasons.

Many struggling poor and homeless people have smart phones.  They often sacrifice much to keep a smart phone but it is an invaluable tool for survival in the 21st century.

Other struggling poor have working computers but can’t afford wifi.  Libraries offer wifi for people who don’t have the price of a cup of coffee needed to get the service in a cafe.  On any evening in Woodstock, it’s common to see people sitting on the grounds of the library, under the light of the moon, using the public wifi services offered by our Woodstock Library.

However, not all struggling poor people can afford  smart phones or computers.   For them, the library is their only  option.

And, we haven’t even gotten to the books yet.  One of the reasons our community has been wrangling over the expansion/update of our library all these years is that we simply don’t have space for the needed books.

And, we haven’t even gotten to the children, either.  Our library offers story telling hours throughout the week for the many children in the area whose families use our library.  Our children’s room is very popular.  It’s every bit as important as the computer area.

We have a public speaking space with a waiting list several months long.

What would we do without our library?

On behalf of the poor, the hungry, and the downtrodden, I thank you for supporting the continuing existence of libraries,  Froma Harrop.  In my blog, that makes you a Hero for Hunger.

http://www.Creators.com

http://www.dailyfreeman.com

http://www.fromaharrop.com

http://www.woodstock.org

http://www.my.Benefits.ny.com

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Thurman Greco


Woodstock’s Best Kept Secret

http://www.meredithsbread.com

Woodstock is really a very special place.  But…not how yo think.  There are several places in our fair U S of A where you can drop me off blindfolded and I’ll know exactly what town I’m in.  The places, in alphabetical order, are:

Austin

Boston

Miami

New Orleans

New York City

San Antonio

San Francisco

Woodstock.

The sounds and smells tell the whole story just the way it is.

Each of these places hold secrets.

I really shouldn’t be publishing this article so soon.  After all, this is a brand new blog and I shouldn’t be giving away the goodies up front.  I should, instead, publish articles for at least a year or 2 before I begin to spill the beans.

But, I can’t wait.  I never could keep either a surprise or a secret forever.  So, here goes…

The best kept secret in all of Woodstock is  not who’s sleeping with whom, or who has the best dope, or if I think so-and-so is going to try to run against somebody special this year in the election or anything like that.  Or why…oh well…I could go on forever.

The best kept secret in all of Woodstock is…ta DAH…where the best place to eat in Woodstock is.

There is this little place located on 26 Mill Hill Road in Woodstock.  It’s upstairs in the educational building behind Christ Lutheran Church.  This restaurant is the creation of Victoria Langling and has been open continuously since May 17, 1993.

It’s open Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.

The menu at this restaurant is simple…as is the decor.  Renee Englander sets up the tables in the afternoons before the Daily Bread Soup Kitchen opens.

About 3:15, a volunteer from one of the local churches goes to a local area restaurant and returns with a large container of a specially prepared hearty soup.  Volunteers from the local religious congregations take turns in the soup kitchen monthly.  They set the tables, serve the soup and clean up after the kitchen closes.

The donating restaurants vary with each soup kitchen day so that it’s possible to eat at the soup kitchen every day it’s open for an entire month without eating the same soup twice.

Donating restaurants include:

Bistro to Go

Bread Alone

Catskill Mountain Pizza

Hickory BBQ Smokehouse

Hurley Ridge Market

Little Bear Restaurant

Nana’s Creative Cafe

Oriole 9

Mountainview Market

Woodstock Meats

Breads are served with the soups…from Bread Alone, no less.  Real butter is offered also.

Desserts are baked goods from Meredith’s.  Cookies are also available.

Half and half is offered for the coffee.

There is always a generous serving of peanut butter and jelly so sandwiches can be made to eat in the dining room or take home.

The whole package is delicious, nutritious, inviting.

The soups are wonderful, delectable, hearty.  If purchased in one of the local area restaurants which donates them, they would cost much $$$.

The room has large windows overlooking Mower’s Meadow.

The clientele is consistent.  Woodstock’s Colorful Characters are always in attendance.  An occasional person will come over from the food pantry on Wednesday.  Sometimes people recuperating from a hospital stay will drop by for a take out container.

All are welcome.  The soup is superb.

Thank you to everyone who makes this event a reality.

http://www.hungerisnotadisease.com

http://www.breadalone.com

http://www.catskillmountainpizza.com

http://www.bluemountainbistro.com

http://www.hickoryrestaurant.com

http://www.woodstockmeats.com

http://www.meredithsbread.com

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Good Luck to us all.

Thurman Greco

 

 

 

 


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