Photo Caption (left to right): Claire Bellerjeau and Ellen Rabin from The Shoreline Soup Kitchens & Pantries, and Carter Gowrie, Lindas Dillon, Whitney Peterson, and Katherine Chirillo from Gowrie Group.
Through the generous support of nearly 500 local individuals and companies, the 2017 Gowrie Group Challenge has raised more funds for SSKP than ever before - a record breaking $173,935! Since Gowrie Group began this challenge 14 years ago, the challenge has raised nearly 1.5 million dollars, which equates to providing over four million meals to people in need in our community.
Gowrie Group believes strongly in giving back to the local community and is committed to help end hunger along the Connecticut shoreline. The Gowrie Group Challenge is Gowrie’s annual matching fundraising initiative to benefit SSKP. The needs of the hungry on the shoreline continue to increase each year. 2017 saw a 6% increase in the number of those coming to SSKP pantries, while local hot meal sites served 23% more meals. The matching approach of the challenge doubles the impact of generous donations from local businesses and individuals. Contributions are used to fill the shelves of the SSKP’s five pantries and to serve meals at the SSKP’s nine hot meal sites.
This year’s challenge ran from November 15, 2017 to January 15, 2018. Gowrie Group kicked off the challenge with a generous $30,000 dollar-for-dollar matching donation. Five local companies – LC Doane Company, Tower Labs, Lenny & Joe's Fish Tale, BrandTech Scientific, and Sound Rigging Services – stepped forward as Partner Sponsors to provide an additional $25,000 in matching funds, bringing the total matched amount to $55,000.
Additionally, the proceeds from two special local events benefited the Gowrie Group Challenge. The first event was the “Black Friday Benefit Concert” which is held annually at The Katharine Hepburn Cultural Arts Center (The Kate) on the Friday after Thanksgiving. The concert, which emphasized melody, lyricism and harmony, featured performances by local musicians and Carter Gowrie, and raised $4,513 for the challenge. The second event was the ballet performance of “Ahavah: The Story of Christmas” by the Ekklesia Contemporary Ballet and Christian Academy of Dance. This beautiful holiday performance took place in December and raised $5,750 for the challenge.
Carter Gowrie, CEO and Founder of Gowrie Group shared, “We are very proud that every year for the past 14 years our community of clients, local businesses and friends have come together to help us feed the hungry along the shoreline.” Carter added, “The last two years I have had the special opportunity to perform in the Black Friday Concert at The Kate with several other local musicians. I encourage you to save the date for next year and bring your family and friends to the concert – it is fun for all and the proceeds benefit the SSKP.” Ellen Rabin, Executive Director of the Shoreline Soup Kitchen said, “The funds raised by the Gowrie Group Challenge make such a difference to struggling families on the shoreline. With Carter Gowrie’s leadership, and the generous support of close to 500 donors, this year’s Gowrie Group Challenge has been the most successful ever. He is truly our champion!”
Many Gowrie Group employees not only donate money to the challenge each year, but also donate time and services to soup kitchens across New England year round. This summer, for the 9th year, over 40 Gowrie Group employees prepared and served lunch to almost 50 guests at the SSKP’s Old Saybrook meal-site. Additionally, employees work together to host Food-Drives every holiday season at many of Gowrie Group’s other locations. During the holiday season, Gowrie employees at the company’s headquarters in Westbrook Connecticut collected and donated over 130 pounds of soup for guests of the SSKP.
Lindas Dillon, a Shoreline Soup Kitchen past board member, volunteer and longtime Gowrie Group employee shared, “It is truly rewarding to be part of this basic needs initiative, and to personally witness the appreciation on the faces of those we serve meals to. I am thankful to be able to share hope, healthy food and community spirit with our shoreline neighbors and proud of my employer’s unwavering philanthropic commitment to the SSKP.”
Gowrie Group and SSKP are proud of all that they have accomplished in the past fourteen years of their partnership. We would also like to thank those who generously spread the word about this effort. Once again, morning radio personality, Bob Muscatel of WLIS/WMRD, updated the community throughout the Challenge from his radio station. In addition, Shore Publishing provided a series of print advertisements in local papers across the shoreline.