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.

Giving back to the Connecticut community in a significant way each year is one of Gowrie Group‘s most important outreach initiatives.  For the past 11 years, since 2004, Gowrie Group has focused much of its charitable giving on supporting The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries.


In response to this need, Gowrie Group is launching their 11th annual matching challenge with a $25,000 donation to the Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries. Five local companies – LC Doane Company, The Safety Zone, Tower Labs, All Waste Inc., and Andre Prost – have signed on as Partner Sponsors and are donating an additional $22,500 in matching funds.


This year, Gowrie Group is challenging the community of local businesses and friends to help them meet and exceed their largest goal ever – raising $125,000. The 2014 Gowrie Group Challenge runs from November 15th to December 31st.


Carter Gowrie, CEO of Gowrie Group said “We are extremely proud that over the past 11 years we have raised nearly $900,000 to benefit The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries. That equates to providing food for more than 2 million meals to our neighbors in need of food services. We greatly appreciate the donations made by so many of our clients and friends each and every year.  I look forward to this year, our 11th year, being the most successful challenge ever.”

“The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries is honored to receive the donations raised from the Gowrie Group Challenge.  Today, and for the last 11 years those who heard this call to help, responded with a generous heart, reaching those in need, and assuring our community is fed.  On behalf of the thousands of community members we serve every year, I say thank you!” Patty Dowling, Executive Director.


Throughout the year, Gowrie Group and its employees donate time and services to soup kitchens and pantries across New England.  Each summer, Gowrie employees prepare and serve a lunch at a meal site in Old Saybrook, CT.  Before the holidays, Gowrie employees host canned food drives at each office location – Westbrook CT, Darien CT, Newport RI, North Kingstown RI, Marshfield, MA, Manchester, NH – and donate the collected goods to local entities.  Employees and their families also help out regularly at a variety of food pantries and meal service locations across the region.


Two special events will also benefit the Gowrie Group Challenge and the Shoreline Soup Kitchens this year.  On December 6th and 7th, “Dancing to End Hunger,” a ballet performance of “Ahavah: The Story of Christmas,” will take place at the Morgan School in Clinton. On December 19th the “Shoreline Soup Kitchen Benefit Concert” will take place at The Kate, in Old Saybrook.


Donate now by clicking here - and then select “Gowrie Challenge.” Donations by mail should be sent to: The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, Attn: Gowrie Group Challenge, P.O. Box 804, Essex, Connecticut 06426.



The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries recently received a $2,500 grant from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation in support of our mission to feed the hungry of the Connecticut shoreline. This funding will be used to purchase much-needed food which will be distributed at SSKP food pantries in Clinton, Westbrook, Old Saybrook, Old Lyme and East Lyme.


"The support SSKP receives from the Bank of America Charitable Foundation assures that those in our community who are struggling will have a place to turn for food and fellowship. With these funds we will be able to purchase enough food for over 6,575 meals. On behalf of all those we serve, I sincerely thank the Bank of America Charitable Foundation," said Patty Dowling, executive director of SSKP.




Volunteers setting up for a food distribution at SSKP's East Lyme Pantry.

On Sunday, November 17th, High Hopes Therapeutic Riding kicked off the holiday shopping season with their very popular Annual Holiday Market in Old Lyme. Once again the cost of admission was a non-perishable food donation for SSKP.

This is the fourth year that SSKP has benefitted from the event, which increases every year, both in attendance and amount of food donated. This year’s drive was another record breaker – with volunteers collecting an amazing 2,438 pounds of food!

Everyone at SSKP is extremely grateful to the High Hopes staff, volunteers and especially the caring community, who donated so many pounds of much-needed food!



Every day Whelen Engineering works to produce life saving products, but on holidays they make an extra effort to make a difference, by donating food to their local neighbors in need.

Whenever Whelen plans a holiday event for their employees, they always order extra food – with The Shoreline Soup Kitchen & Pantries in mind. SSKP volunteers pick up the food, and transport it to nearby Grace Episcopal Church. A team of SSKP "Heat & Eat" volunteers divide the food into individual portions to be given out at their local food pantries. Recently, on Halloween day, SSKP volunteers accepted a generous donation of cold cuts, cheeses, tuna and pasta salad, with sandwich rolls and fixings. This special donation was packaged into over 400 meals for hungry shoreline residents.

The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries serves people in need from 11 shoreline towns. They might be unemployed or underemployed, or might be living with a disability or illness, or may be elderly and struggling to make ends meet on a fixed income. For these pantry guests, who may not know where their next meal is coming from, the food donated by Whelen Engineering provides more than just relief from hunger. It offers assurance that they are part of a caring community that remembers the needs of its neighbors, all year round.

"Whelen likes to support the communities where we reside," explained Whelen Engineering president and CEO, John Olson. "Since we began our employee holiday parties years ago, we've always wanted to give back."

"We are grateful to Whelen Engineering for making generous donations of food, each time they celebrate a holiday. Their tradition of caring and providing for others has been a real blessing to all those who come to our pantries," said Patty Dowling, executive director of The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries. "On behalf of all those we serve, I say thank you so very much."

Whelen Engineering has been providing food donations to SSKP, several times throughout the year, for 18 years. Thank you, Whelen!




John Olson, President & CEO of Whelen Engineering with Nancy Hoffmann, SSKP "Heat & Eat" volunteer.




A team of "Heat & Eat" volunteers dividing the Whelen food donations at Halloween into individual portions at Grace Episcopal Church in Old Saybrook.



Students from Oxford Academy's philanthropy club, "Oxford Nation" held their second annual "Halloween Hunger Hunt" for SSKP on Halloween night. Students dressed as a giant bowl of spaghetti, complete with giant spoon and fork, went door-to-door, collecting non-perishable foods from Ivoryton residents during Halloween trick-or-treating.


With the help of faculty member Ms. Jill Vaughn, they collected several boxes of cans and food items. In addition the club asked fellow students to give a "Dress Down Day" donation, and presented SSKP with monetary donations made by over sixty Oxford Academy students.


SSKP hopes other schools will be inspired by their creativity and caring spirit. Thank you, Oxford Academy!







Oxford Nation students Matthew Boor and Graeme Cohen trick-or-treating for food donations.

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