Pelham’s Kathy Ellis helps Sharing Shelf make difference in lives of need


From left, Jennifer Perri (volunteer coordinator), Nancy Barr, Shelley Mayer, Kathy Ellis (assistant director), Deborah Blatt (founder, program director), Damon Maher, Polly Kerrigan (acting CEO, Family Services of Westchester) and Gerry Goldberg (co-founder).

Sharing Shelf, an organization dedicated to distributing clothing to the less fortunate, has been categorized as “Westchester’s Clothing Bank,” where volunteers and workers cooperate with social service agencies and homeless shelters to keep people warm during the holiday season and throughout the year.

Pelham resident Kathy Ellis, who is assistant director of Sharing Shelf, said, “Unlike a lot of jobs, everyone who works there wants to be there.” Ellis has involved with the program for three years as assistant director and for six years as a volunteer.

“I like to think we’re impactful,” said Ellis.

Ellis moved to Pelham a number of years ago looking for a place out of the New York City. She later became a Girl Scout troop leader and community service manager. She found Sharing Shelf, where she began working in 2012.

Throughout her time with Sharing Shelf, Ellis has been involved with services she said she felt helped make a difference in the community, such as the Backpacks to School program, which helps to fill a backpack for students at the beginning of the school year.

Another is the teen boutique, which is is held for teen girls at the Boys and Girls Club in New Rochelle.

The boutique, in particular, impacted Ellis’s perspective. “You see girls coming in, and they are very unsure, maybe shy, but by the end of their hour or two shopping, they are beaming,” she said. “You can see there is a huge difference in their confidence.”

In some parts of Westchester County, people might assume the majority of the county is wealthy, but more than 35% of Westchester children qualify for a free lunch and 2,500 kids per year are helped by Sharing Shelf.

Ellis said she has received letters expressing thanks and gratitude from many people who were aided by the organization. Doing something as small as making a donation or volunteering could make a vast difference in the lives of those impacted.