Feeding the Hungry Along the Shoreline

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get helpThe Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries is an interfaith service that provides food and fellowship to those in need and educates our community on hunger and poverty.

Food Pantry location - Tuesdays from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m.
St. Mark's Roman Catholic Church, 222 McVeagh Road, Westbrook

 Jerry Murphy, Pantry Manager, has wonderful volunteers who help distribute over 6,000 meals a month at this location.


Note:  Closed July 4.

 

Here is a "snapshot" of the Westbrook Pantry volunteers in October of 2014:

 

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The Westbrook Pantry - At St. Mark's R.C. Church, 222 McVeagh Road in Westbrook.

 

Date of Visit: October 7th, 2014

 

Pantry Distribution Time: Every Tuesday from 1:30 to 2:30PM

 

Special offerings today: Fresh vegetables were in abundance, from both The Common Goods Garden in Old Saybrook and the Valley Shore YMCA Garden in Westbrook. This included freshly picked cucumbers, peppers, beans, squash, mustard greens, broccoli, spinach and fresh herbs.

 

Some Team Details: The Westbrook Pantry has a dedicated team of over 50 volunteers, many of whom have been helping for decades. Some work together on Mondays and others come as early as 7:30AM to begin sorting and setting up on Tuesdays.

 

Above and Beyond: Every Tuesday, in the waiting room area, several long tables have donated clothing and housewares that the guests are welcome to have.

 

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Don Benjamin

 

Years helping at the Pantry: 2


Job: I resupply the different stations and prep all the shelves. I also organize the stockroom and help with inventory control. I pick up the bakery donations at Big Y, and also the "Heat & Eat" meals that the Old Saybrook volunteers have prepared.


Favorite thing: My favorite thing is seeing people's faces - seeing how thankful they are.


How did you join the Team? My neighbor Eleanor "signed me up" - she works here, too.


Fun Fact: I have a blue 1976 VW bus (license plate "Fun Bus"). I took it to Woodstock when I was 19!

 

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Izzy Montano

 

Years helping at the Pantry: 21


Job: I set up all the bags at the stations, and I put out the milk. I help with anything else that's needed.


Favorite thing: I know people are in need and it's good to see them getting help - especially the families with kids.


How did you join the Team? I had just had 3 brain surgeries and a stroke. I wanted to get out of the house and do something for others.


About Me: It's been 30 years since they told me I had 24 hours to live.

 

 

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Judi Mager (with husband Bill)

 

Years helping at the Pantry: 12


Job: We give out the canned vegetables, fruit, juice, beans and tuna.


Favorite thing: Being with the people - both the ones we work with and the ones we serve.


How did you join the Team? In church, a pantry coordinator came up to me and my husband, Bill and asked if we would help. We've been volunteering ever since.


Fun Fact: I make wooden "wine signs" with phrases on them and I sell them to wine stores.

 

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SSKP Volunteer for 20 Years Turns 90:

 

At the Westbrook Pantry scores of volunteers were busy putting out tables full of fresh vegetables, canned soups, bags of beans, pasta, fresh bread and frozen meat, but there was an especially large crowd gathered around the egg table. Everyone was writing a “Happy 90th Birthday” message on a poster-sized photo of Charlie Adams, who was arriving any minute to do what he had done for over 20 years – hand out the fresh eggs. When Charlie arrived, ready to go to work, he was greeted with a chorus of “For He’s a Jolly Good Fellow”, many hugs and handshakes, a giant birthday cake, and the signed birthday poster. “If I’d have known there was going to be such a fuss, I’d have come earlier!” he quipped.

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Being a pantry volunteer for over 20 years is just one of Charlie Adam’s many accomplishments. The large photo showed Charlie in 1958, in his white Navy dress uniform, aboard the USS Shangri-La (CVA-38), a 27,000 ton aircraft carrier. Known as the “Egg Man” to his pantry friends, he was “Commander Adams” when he retired from the Navy in 1970, after 28 years, serving in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. While aboard the Shangri-La, one of his primary duties was Carrier Approach Control, where he ensured that planes successfully landed on the flight deck, especially during storms or at night.

His first experience working with eggs was as a 9 year old boy, when his father took over the family farm in Missouri in 1933. “Our plows were drawn by horses back then”, he recalled. “We worked from sunrise to sunset, growing corn, oats, wheat and barley. I had to milk the cows before daybreak.  In high school I wanted to be on the football team, but my Dad said my chores would ‘still be waiting for me’. So after football practice I’d walk the six miles home, and do my chores. At night I did my homework by a kerosene lamp.”

A resident of Westbrook since 1971, he’s a parishioner at St. Marks Church, the host site for the Westbrook Pantry. Charlie remembers the early days, even before the pantry became part of Shoreline Soup Kitchens. In those days, volunteers filled grocery bags which were handed out to those in need. There were small, medium, large and extra-large bags, depending on family size. Today at the pantry guests can choose from a variety of foods depending on their family’s size, needs and preferences.

Charlie also spoke of years past at his “egg station”, when the fresh eggs were delivered in bulk pallets, instead of individual cartons. All week long Charlie and his fellow volunteers would have to collect empty egg containers from their neighbors, and then come early to the pantry to fill them. Although this all had to be done by hand, Charlie proudly claimed, “We never broke a single egg.”

2014 marks the 25th anniversary of the founding of The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries. “Our volunteers make our mission come alive every day, and have for the last 25 years,” said Patty Dowling, Executive Director. “Week in and week out, their kindness, commitment, and care assure that those in need have a place to turn.  Our community is blessed to have Charlie, and the other 900 or so volunteers, who give of their time, expertise, and good cheer.  On behalf of the guests, volunteers, staff and Board of Trustees, I offer our thanks and warm wishes for those who so selflessly serve those in need, and today to Charlie as he celebrates his 90th birthday.”

 

 

 

Westbrook volunteers Joanne and Charlie with local gardener Tammy Welge.  Tammy was kind enough to donate lots of tomatoes, peppers and squash from her garden, and Joanne and Charlie assisted in the picking!

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Welcome back Don!!!
Westbrook volunteer Don Benjamin rejoins us after a summer hiatus.  We are so lucky to have him back!!!

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Some of my "heavy lifters" during Tuesday pantry. Alex, Art, Pete, Bill (works for St marks) and Ed (former pantry manager).  Great guys!!!
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This is Westbrook resident Dorothy Davis. She just celebrated her 75th birthday, and in lieu of gifts, she asked her guests to bring a food donation for the SSKP.  Today she dropped off 154 pounds of food for the St. Mark's pantry!!!


Green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplant and peppers were donated to the Shoreline Soup Kitchens this summer by Deep River Girl Scouts Acacia Bowden and Emily Robbins.  The donations were part of the girls' efforts to earn the Girl Scout Silver Award.  They helped rejuvenate existing garden beds and a greenhouse at John Winthrop Middle School in order to grow the produce.  We thank them for their efforts!


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A food drive at Valley Shore YMCA took place from 8/13-8/17. Kiana Rocco coordinated the food drive for the Summer of Service project team. Thanks to Kiana for her efforts!
 
In the picture are from left to right:
Ed Gorman, manager of the Westbrook food pantry
Kiana Rocco
Tara Joos - Youth and Family Director

Not included in the picture are:
Richard Ward - Youth Development Director
Vinnie Pizzagalli  - Summer of Service project team member

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