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.

Lessons learned in civics class transformed into tangible help for local families in need when three 10th grade students from Valley Regional High School held a “Civics in Action Stuff-A-Truck” food drive for The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries at the Deep River Adams Supermarket.


The students, Alex Tiezzi, Sam Armenia and Ben Toles, all of Chester, explained their project and asked shoppers to donate groceries for the drive.  In a single afternoon the boys had filled the SSKP truck with 1,751 pounds of non-perishable food. The food was delivered to our Westbrook Pantry, which distributes over 15,000 pounds of food every month to hundreds of local families in need. Deep River Adams Supermarket manager Jeff Prindle also helped in the effort, by providing food “at cost” for a $1,000 donation made by supporters of the food drive.


“What a wonderful example these three young men have set for their fellow students,” said Patty Dowling, executive director of SSKP. “On behalf of those we serve, who experience a community that cares deeply each time they attend a pantry, I thank these students and all those who donated food during the drive.”

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(l-r)Valley Regional High School 10th grade students Sam Armenia, Alex Tiezzi and Ben Toles.



Employees of the Connecticut Water Company’s office in Clinton presented The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries a donation of $1,172, representing the proceeds from their Family Fun Day held on May 3rd.

The event, which was free to the public, included a tag sale comprised of employee donations and office equipment and electronics donated by CT Water. The public was also encouraged to donate non-perishable food items which were delivered to Shoreline Soup Kitchen’s Clinton Pantry. A CT Water ‘Touch a Truck’, bounce house for kids, and other activities rounded out the day of fun.

Employees volunteered their time to organize the event as a way to help those facing economic challenges. “This was the first year we held the Family Fun Day,” said Chris Lanfair, one of the organizers. “Hopefully we will be able to continue the tradition. Nine of the eleven towns served by The Shoreline Soup Kitchens are also in our service area, so it seemed like a great way to give back. We are happy we were able to raise so much to help those in need.”

Connecticut Water serves about 90,000 customers, or 300,000 people, in 56 towns across Connecticut. Connect to CT Water on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CTWtr and Twitter at www.twitter.com/CTWtr.


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Pictured (l-r) CT Water employees Chris Lanfair, Dave Radka, Claire Bellerjeau, SSKP Director of Development & Outreach, and CT Water employees John Holland and Cathy Mullen.




This spring local Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts participated in “Scouting for Food” service projects to benefit The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries.

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Twelve members of the Essex Cub Scouts of Pack 4 held a food drive, collecting an impressive 707 pounds of non-perishable food. The Cub Scouts, who are between 7 and 10 years of age, each gathered an average of 55 items of food, or about 60 pounds of food each.

Additionally, a group of four Westbrook Boy Scouts from Troop 38 made a special visit to SSKP’s Westbrook Pantry to learn more about the issue of hunger along the shoreline, and presented a $200 donation on behalf of their troop.

“We sincerely thank the Cub Scouts of Pack 4 for their wonderful food drive, and the Boy Scouts of Troop 38 for their donation and their desire to learn more about those in need,” said Patty Dowling, executive director of SSKP. “It’s great to see Scouts of all ages working to help others. In the spring months we have a need for additional food drives, so “Scouting for Food” is very much appreciated. With the support of the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, and so many others in our community, we are able to make a place at the table for all our neighbors.”



The numbers are in, and once again the people of the shoreline have answered the call to help their neighbors in need.  At SSKP we received 8,910 pounds of donated food through the “Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive”, held by United States Postal Service letter carriers on May 10th. The food was received at our pantries in Clinton, Westbrook, Old Saybrook and Old Lyme, and was weighed, sorted and shelved by our hardworking volunteers for weekly distributions to local families in need.

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This was the 22nd year that the National Association of Letter Carriers, in cooperation with the National Rural Carriers Association and the United States Post Office, has conducted the nationwide “Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive”.

“We are so grateful to all the mail carriers and postal employees who worked so hard on this year’s food drive,” said Patty Dowling, Executive Director. “Also a big thank you to all of the dedicated SSKP pantry volunteers, who helped prepare the food for distribution. Last but not least, heartfelt thanks to the many residents who gave so generously to this year’s Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive.  Hunger is real along the shoreline, and we are so thankful to have the support of our community.”





The Cheryl Mehalik Luyster Fund at the Community Foundation of Middlesex County has generously awarded a grant to SSKP of $2,000.00. Cheryl’s friends and family created the Fund to honor and remember Cheryl, a longtime Old Saybrook resident, and to support the causes she was passionate about. This award was especially meaningful because Cheryl had been a longtime cook and volunteer at our Wednesday meal at Grace Episcopal Church in Old Saybrook and had served as Team Leader for the meal site.


“We are so grateful to receive this generous grant from The Cheryl Mehalik Luyster Fund,” said Patty Dowling. “Her caring spirit lives on in the hearts of all who knew her. This gift will provide support to a mission that she cared so deeply about: providing a place at the table for her neighbors.”

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Her husband, Frank Luyster, and Thayer Talbott, of the Community Foundation, presented the award to executive director Patty Dowling, along with SSKP volunteers Michael Urban and Joyce Hansel, who fondly remembered working alongside Cheryl as members of the team of cooks at the Wednesday lunch.


“Cheryl’s commitment to her community and her determination to make an impact on the issues faced by her neighbors will continue thanks to the generosity of her friends and family,” explained Cynthia Clegg, President  & CEO of the Community Foundation. “We are honored to work with Frank and Cheryl’s closest friends to address basic needs through the Cheryl Mehalik Luyster Fund. They knew Cheryl best and knew her passions and hopes for her community. By working with the Community Foundation, because of its knowledge and resources, Cheryl’s legacy will continue in our communities today – and forever.”


The Community Foundation of Middlesex County is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to improve the quality of life for the people of the County, now and in the future, by developing endowments, making grants that have impact and assisting donors in meeting their philanthropic objectives. Since its founding in 1997, the Community Foundation has awarded 1,100 grants totaling over $3.3 million for the arts, cultural and heritage programs, educational activities, environmental improvements and for health and human services. For more information, visit CFMC’s website: www.MiddlesexCountyCF.org


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