Susan Armistead, champion of the Goshen $5 Challenge, is Citizen of the Month

09 Jul 2019 | 11:36

Orange County Executive Steve Neuhaus has recognized Susan Armistead as July’s Citizen of the Month Award for her commitment and generosity to the Goshen community.
“Sue is one of the kindest and most civic-minded individuals that you will ever meet,” Neuhaus said. “She has worked tirelessly for a variety of organizations and takes great pride in helping Goshen residents and her neighbors in need. Sue has a passion for what she does and performs her work with grace and humility. I’m proud to recognize Sue for all of her work.”
Armistead volunteers with several local organizations, including the Goshen Ecumenical Food Pantry, Friends of Recovery, and Hope Not Handcuffs. She is also an active member of the Goshen United Methodist Church.
Her passion is the $5 Challenge, an initiative in which $5 is collected from family members, friends, and the community for a variety of worthy causes.
Armistead said she borrowed the idea from The Rev. Susan Chupungco of the Goshen United Methodist Church in October 2015. During a sermon, Chupungco told parishioners “that money buys happiness if it is spent the right way.” She then gave everyone in the congregation an envelope with $5 in it and told them to share the money creatively with someone in need.
Armistead wanted to make soup for a local family, but $5 would not cover the expenses. So she asked a few friends to donate $5 apiece to make a huge serving of corn chowder for the family. The Goshen $5 Challenge was born. Armistead continues to promote the initiative on Facebook. Since its inception, the Challenge has raised more than $44,000 for charitable causes.
'Good Witch of Murray Avenue'
Armistead and the Goshen community regularly fundraise for organizations and families in need, whether they are battling cancer, dealing with a death in the family, or struggling with finances. She attributes her compassion to her mother, Barbara Semonite, who worked several jobs while Armistead was growing up in Wurtsboro. Hers was a modest family, and her family occasionally leaned on the kindness of others when times were tough.
Armistead has lived in Goshen with her husband, Kevin, and their three children for 25 years. Her philanthropy extends to giving out large candy bars on Halloween. She is affectionately known as “the Good Witch of Murray Avenue.”
“I feel I’m doing what I’m supposed to do and I’m humbled to be able to help other people,” Susan Armistead said. “To whom much is given, much is expected. I think every town should have a $5 Challenge, and I appreciate that the county executive is highlighting this initiative. When we know there is a need, we slip an envelope under the door, it’s a great feeling to be of assistance.”
To make a donation to the Goshen $5 Challenge, email Armistead at
Do you know a worthy citizen?
To nominate someone for the Citizen of the Month Award, email or mail a letter to “Citizen of the Month” at 255-275 Main Street Goshen, N.Y. 10924. Include the nominee’s name, hometown, a list of their accomplishments, why you are nominating them and any other pertinent information. Nominees must be from Orange County.