OUR STORY

Get To Know Us

ABOUT US

Why We Started

Deborah Blatt is an attorney with a background in international human rights and women’s rights. The idea behind The Sharing Shelf grew from her experience as a parent with children in a mixed-income public school where the school social worker balanced addressing the academic, social and emotional needs of her students while collecting clothing, coats and shoes. Deborah envisioned a place where the community could come together to collect and organize clothing donations and provide a one-stop shop for schools, hospitals and nonprofits whose students and clients faced clothing insecurity.

She founded The Sharing Shelf in 2009 and has shepherded its growth from a basement in Rye through its expansion to a 4,100 square foot warehouse in Port Chester, serving more than 100 nonprofits and schools county-wide and engaging hundreds of volunteers each year. Since its inception, The Sharing Shelf has been addressing clothing insecurity and meeting the basic needs of infants, children and teens county-wide by providing Wardrobe Packs (a week’s worth of clothing) and essentials like toiletries, period products, diapers, and school supplies.

What We Do

What We Do

We address clothing insecurity and meet the basic material needs of low-income children and teens in Westchester County.

You can make a difference in our community by volunteering in our warehouse, virtual volunteering from your home, or engaging your friends, family, school or company.

The Sharing Shelf was founded by a volunteer and relies on volunteers to accomplish its mission. Your participation is the key to our success.

WESTCHESTER COUNTY

The Community We Serve

While Westchester is one of our nation’s wealthiest counties, more than 52,000 children live in poverty or a low-income family. According to the Westchester Children’s Association, more than 55% of residents are rent-burdened, spending more than one-third of their income on housing.

 For many of these families, clothing for growing children, new schools supplies, and other basic necessities like new socks, new underwear and basic hygiene become luxuries they struggle to afford.

26% OF WESTCHESTER CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS LIVE IN POOR OR LOW-INCOME HOMES.

13% OF PUBLIC SCHOOL CHILDREN ARE CHRONICALLY ABSENT FROM SCHOOL.

IN SOME SCHOOL WE SERVE DISTRICTS, 8 IN 10 CHILDREN LIVE BELOW THE POVERTY LINE OR IN A FAMILY STRUGGLING TO SUPPORT THEMSELVES.

Stories from the Community

Stories from the Community

Meet Our Staff

Deborah Blatt

Executive Director

Kathy Ellis

Assistant Director

Kate Levy

Director of Volunteers & Community Engagement

Ana Guarneros

Facilities

Lulu Bencosme

Special Hours Volunteerism

Meet Our Board

Deborah Blatt

President

Gerry Goldberg

Vice-Chair

Victoria Garrity

Treasurer

staci ramachandran

Secretary

Patricia Allen

Lisa copeland

Brad Dickerson

Alex Gatti

Laura Jacobs

Jason Pollack

A BIT OF OUR TIMELINE

Our History

Early 2009

Early 2009

DREAM, RESEARCH, START

The Sharing Shelf was born, rooted in Deborah’s experience at the Barnard School, then a mixed income magnet Elementary School in New Rochelle. She envisioned a place to donate and assist those working with families in need. Her her young daughter sketched the first logo – a shelf with the new name and items to share. Deborah connected with her friend Gerry Goldberg and they organized a round-table with others active in the community to discuss the concept. They visited similar programs in other cities to envision how the program would look.

Late 2009

FIRST DONATIONS

The Sharing Shelf received its first seed grants from the Sills Family Foundation and Ronald McDonald charities, and found its first home, 300 square feet in the basement of an empty building in Rye.

Late 2009

2011

2011

FIRST EXPANSION

The building housing The Sharing Shelf’s basement home was sold and the program moved to 1,000 square feet in New Rochelle, inside a former synagogue. That summer, The Sharing Shelf launched its first Backpacks to School initiative with 200 backpacks for children in elementary and middle school.

January 2012

SECOND EXPANSION

After quickly outgrowing its new New Rochelle quarters, The Sharing Shelf moved to its current location in Port Chester, which had the added bonus of warehouse ceilings, a parking lot and – best of all – a loading dock.

January 2012

November 2012

November 2012

FIRST TEEN BOUTIQUE

The Sharing Shelf held its first Teen Boutique (Girl-Topia) in partnership with Girl Scout Caroline Stoerger who earned her Gold Award on the project. Over 70 teens benefitted and the initiative quickly became a core part of The Sharing Shelf’s programming.

Fall 2019

EXPANSION

The Sharing Shelf expanded its warehouse space to 4,100 square feet, opening the wall into an adjacent room. With the new space, The Sharing Shelf could welcome larger volunteer groups and accept more donations.

Fall 2019

2020

2020

COVID-19 PIVOT

As the world changed, so did The Sharing Shelf. We launched our toiletry kit program in April 2020 and formalized our initiative to address period poverty and committed our program to provide all children we serve as well as local food pantries with these basic essentials. In May 2020, volunteers returned to our warehouse and created socially distant work spaces to respond to growing needs for spring and summer clothing.

2021

TEEN BOUTIQUE RE-IMAGINED

After a year without in-person events, we relaunched our Teen Boutique events and re-envisioned the program by creating a series of small, localized events in partnership with area schools and community organizations. This is now our model for Teen Boutique and we host 6 events each season in rotating communities county-wide.

2021

2022

2022

BEST LOCAL CHARITY

The Sharing Shelf was named Best Local Charity by Westchester Magazine.