Donna Renzetti Besteiro, the new executive director of Caring for the Homeless of Peekskill, Inc. (CHOP), comes to her new position with some kind words for the local community.
“Judging by the support CHOP has received from those living in Peekskill and neighboring towns, my impression is that the people here have big hearts and great minds—they give of their time, their money and their energy to bring about sustainable changes in the lives of others perhaps not as fortunate as themselves, “ she said.
Besteiro, who began work as the organization’s new leader in late April, is an experienced attorney who previously headed up the legal team for Danone North America, a large international food product company with four divisions including Dannon yogurt. She has replaced former Director Jeanne Blum, who moved on from CHOP to serve as the Executive Director of the Westchester Coalition for the Hungry and Homeless.
Besteiro, a Mount Kisco resident explained that for many years, she has been involved with non-profits, doing volunteer work to benefit people who are most in need, and has long had an interest in serving within a nonprofit in a professional capacity.
“My family and I were active volunteers on behalf of the homeless in the Mt. Kisco community, working with the Westchester Coalition for the Homeless, and we cooked and served as part of that organization's rotation,” she said. When she heard about the opportunity at CHOP, it seemed like a great fit.
Continuing the mission of CHOP—an organization that was established in 1988 by Peekskill community leaders, clergy members and private citizens—Besteiro will work to alleviate hunger and homelessness in Peekskill and the neighboring communities.
“I will continue to build on the solid foundation of this wonderful organization in meeting the needs of the hungry and homeless and in growing organizational capacity to serve the greater community,” she said.
Four programs run under the CHOP umbrella, including the Jan Peek House Shelter for the Homeless, Fred’s Pantry at St. Peter's Episcopal Church, Sunny Donut Free Breakfast Program and an emergency shelter for those homeless not served otherwise. Its services provide help to thousands of people in need each year.
The Jan Peek House Shelter provides a clean, safe environment and food to those in the Peekskill community and beyond who would not otherwise have such access, and is also a critical conduit in connecting these individuals with the services they need to be able to live dignified, independent lives, the new executive director added.
Besteiro said that work for her is most rewarding when the results of the labor are tangible and meaningful.
“Providing persons without food access to life-sustaining nutrition and providing persons without a roof or bed and without the means to obtain the services they desperately need to live with dignity and purpose, is work that nourishes my soul.”
Caring for the Homeless of Peekskill, Inc is located at 200 North Water Street, Peekskill, and can be reached at: 914-736-2636