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Food Box

About Sidewalk Warriors Troy

 Welcome to the heart of our mission!

At Sidewalk Warriors Troy, we're fueled by the power of community connections. Our bond with individuals and local businesses is the cornerstone that allows us to address the needs within our neighborhood. We're humbled and thankful for the unwavering support that enables us to extend a helping hand to those in need. 

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Our Operations Base

We don't have a traditional office space, but what we do have storage space donated by Christ Church Troy Methodist. Our incredible volunteers are the backbone of our organization, managing donations from their homes, ensuring we're always prepared to give back. We set up each week on the sidewalks at the corner of 5th and State St. Come rain or shine, you'll find us there, with over 36 folding tables unfolding in minutes, thanks to the steady stream of contributions arriving by car.

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Serving With Compassion

For our friends queuing up for support, we keep it simple: no paperwork, no questions asked. We strive to meet every need and fulfill special requests whenever possible, often reaching out through our Facebook page for community assistance. Rest assured, every monetary donation is thoughtfully used to purchase essential items, and every single donation lands directly into the hands of someone who needs it—absolutely free and without judgment.

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What We Offer

Each week, we're proud to offer hot meals, sandwiches, fresh produce, pantry staples, and basic necessities. Our distributions also include special items like towels, linens, pillows, winter boots, underwear, socks, laundry detergent, and more.

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Community Driven

Our entire operation is volunteer-driven, supported by the generosity of our community members, organizations, businesses, and individuals who cook, bake, donate funds, or provide requested items. Every contribution, no matter the size, is a significant part of our collective effort—it truly takes a village.

Join Us!

Come be a part of our story. Together, we can make a difference.

We set every Thursday, 52 weeks a year, at the corner of 5th Avenue and 35 State St. Volunteers start the setup at 4:30 pm, and by 6:00 pm, we're ready to serve our community with open hearts and open hands.

Our Friends Say

Hear What Our Friends Say...

Witness the impact of empathy and compassion through these inspiring stories, capturing the essence of how simple acts of giving can ignite hope and positive change in our community. Join us on a heartwarming journey as we share powerful stories on how a little help from our volunteers has on the lives of those we serve.

Special thanks to Lisa Grace of Conceptual Images for creating these videos

Impact

2023 Impact & Efforts

With the help of our community, we've achieved significant impact in 2023, as evidenced by the following numerical breakdown of our efforts in sustainability, community engagement, and commitment to compassion

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24,100+

VOLUNTEER HOURS

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10,802+

FRIENDS SERVED

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19,800+

HOT MEALS DISTRIBUTED

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420+

BOOTS, WINTER COATS, SLEEPING BAGS PROVIDED

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40+

LOCAL BUSINESS SUPPORT

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1,440+

CHRISTMAS GIFTS GIVEN

2022

Volunteer hours given: 18,600+
Friends served: 6,200+
Hot meals distributed: Over 18,200+
Boots, winter coats, and sleeping bags: 370+
Christmas gifts distributed: 1,200
Second Annual Fall Fundraiser: $52,862

2021 

Volunteer hours given: 15,000
Friends served: 5,500
Hot meals distributed: Over 15,000
Sandwiches distributed: More than 6,500
Bags of pet food given for our 4-legged friends: 950+
First Annual Fall Fundraiser: $31,500

And countless direct donations of funds, special items for distribution, and repeat donations of essentials.

Board of Directors

Compassionate. Empathetic. Dedicated.

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Robin Fontanelli

PRESIDENT

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Robin’s interest in helping others is something that has always felt right in her heart.  She says, "This isn’t something you learn in school or college, this is in you, you know it and you feel it."

 

For more than 30 years, Robin owned a bridal shop where she learned the importance of listening to people and their needs.  Then later, she became intrigued with the world of finance and wanted to help others reach their financial goals. 

 

During this time, she started volunteering more frequently and knew serving others was where she should be. She leads Sidewalk Warriors Troy as they go above and beyond just providing a warm meal and sandwich. Robin ensures each volunteer and friend served feels a sense of family, compassion, and love, which will always make a greater impact on the community. 

 

Robin welcomes new volunteers who want to join the group's efforts, and invites new friends in need to stop by the weekly distribution site. 

 

"Each week we see some new friends, some friends from the week before, and some from who return to report that they changed their path.  It is remarkable to have someone walk by your pop-up distribution and tell you that this group changed my life or this group believed in me...  When you hear such powerful words with conviction you know you are in the right place.  This is why we do what we do, you just never know the impact you may have on just one person." 

Robin is married has two adult daughters, sons-in-law, and grandchildren nearby. She currently resides in Latham, NY.

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Nicholas Francella

VICE PRESIDENT

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Nick’s philanthropic journey started after graduating from the University of New Hampshire. “I saw a commercial that made a lasting impact on me – A little girl is overjoyed to find the perfect toy she’s been wanting forever and in the end she donates it to another child that may have went without during Christmas.” Nick started a personal fundraiser to buy Christmas gifts for children throughout the Capital Region and raised more than $25,000 throughout five years. In 2018, Nick created his own 501(c)(3) nonprofit, The Francella Foundation, to continue to raise funds and support worthy causes in the area.

Nick began his career in the nonprofit world while managing grants for Equinox Inc. and then joined the Foundation team at St. Catherine’s Center for Children. Nick currently contracts for New York State’s Empire State Supportive Housing Initiative, which aims to ensure New York’s most vulnerable populations have access to safe and secure housing.

Nick has been a dedicated volunteer of Sidewalk Warriors Troy and looks forward to serving in the Vice President role and to securing grants and creating lasting partnerships. “Each week, Sidewalk Warriors Troy grounds me and always puts my perspective in focus. My compassionate side really comes from my parents. They both worked modest and tough jobs and still gave my brother and me everything we could ever want growing up. I always wanted to assist others if I had the means to do so and Sidewalk Warriors Troy continues to fuel that ambition.”

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Anthony Fontanelli

TREASURER

Tony has always been a generous individual with a strong desire to help people.  He was caretaker for his parents for many years, and they instilled in him the strong family values that included helping others. 

 

Tony will notice the gentleman in need on the corner and give not only assistance, but engage in conversation with a smile. When he first met his wife, it became clear that they both wanted to help their community. Before long, he became a dedicated weekly volunteer setting up tables on the sidewalks of Troy... and the rest is history. 

For Tony, Sidewalk Warriors Troy has become more than just helping individuals, it is a commitment. He recognizes that time and consistency is so important to developing trust.  Tony has demonstrated that we are there for our friends each week with needed items.  He reports, "There is nothing more rewarding than for someone to ask for a pair of boots or sneakers, and to see their reaction when you show up with them the next time you see them. They now feel they have been heard and valued."

Tony worked for Albany County for over 45 years and recently retired.  He is an active 6 Degree Black Belt instructor in Martial Arts for over 28 years.   He has an adult son, extended family, and grandchildren. 

His expertise in accounting is welcomed by Sidewalk Warriors Troy!

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Dawn has been a helper since her childhood and filled a role as a caretaker for family members. This defines the person she has become.

 

Dawn works at the Children’s Museum at Saratoga as the Director of Operations. This role allows her to help make sure that all children have access to informal educational opportunities! 

To Dawn, Sidewalk Warriors Troy feels like home. Living in Troy for all of her life, she sees the need that exists in her own community. She can often be heard saying that her commitment to this organization “fills her heart.”

Dawn Baldwin

SECRETARY

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