Town groups prepare for holiday giving

Holiday drives are already underway. Above, Isabella Council 15 of the Knights of Columbus (KOC) and its members delivered 60 winter coats to Southington Community Services in October for distribution to children in need in Southington. The drive is part of their Coats for Kids drive. From left, KOC member Bill Shatas, Southington Community Services director Janet Mellon, and KOC member Richard Pillar.

Holiday drives are already underway. Above, Isabella Council 15 of the Knights of Columbus (KOC) and its members delivered 60 winter coats to Southington Community Services in October for distribution to children in need in Southington. The drive is part of their Coats for Kids drive. From left, KOC member Bill Shatas, Southington Community Services director Janet Mellon, and KOC member Richard Pillar.

By JEN CARDINES

STAFF WRITER

The upcoming holidays have various town organizations finalizing efforts to give back to those in need. Whether it’s clothing, food or toys, there’s plenty of ways to help out in the community this season.

Southington Community Services (SCS) has teamed up with the Southington Public Library for the annual “Food for Fines” program. The program is designed to help stock the shelves at SCS for the holiday season and will run from Nov. 14 until Dec. 28.

“We have been supporting Southington Community Services for 14 years,” said library program director Jeanne Chmielewski.

Those with overdue library books have the opportunity to have the fine removed by bringing in the overdue items, their library card, and donations to the lending desk. Food items most needed at SCS are cereal, tuna fish, peanut butter, jelly, pasta, canned fruit, and children’s snacks. Soup, toiletries, paper goods, shampoo, juice boxes, and canned vegetables also make great donations.

In addition to Food for Fines, the library Mitten Tree will be displayed to help collect new hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, and socks. All donations will be sent to SCS.

“Each year the patrons out do themselves, being very generous with donations,” Chmielewski said. “Many patrons bring in donations even though they have no fines.”

SCS director Janet Mellon said there are many ways to give back this year. The adopt-a-family (or individual) program is available for people to retrieve a family’s wish list, buy the items, and bring them back to SCS to be distributed.

Mellon said that SCS is always short on bathrobes, blankets, sheets, slippers, and teenage gifts.

Donations to the food pantry are always needed as well, and this year SCS is reaching out to the community for canned fruit, stuffing mix, mashed potatoes, marshmallow or fluff, hot chocolate, corn muffin mix, cream style corn, yams/sweet potatoes, dessert mixes (cake mix, brownie mix, cookie mix, etc.)

“The town is very generous,” Mellon said. “We’re only able to do these things because of the people in this town.”

Bread for Life (BFL) is also accepting donations for items such as cereal, coffee, gravy, instant potatoes, jelly, salad dressing, snacks, and spaghettios. Items can be brought to the BFL office or the pantry in the Mason’s hall at the rear entrance at 76 Main St.

BFL executive director Donna Ayer said that the new BFL facility will hopefully be open by Christmas. “We’re taking it day by day,” she said.

Both BFL and SCS are holding Thanksgiving and Christmas meals for their clients.

The Southington Police Department is currently planning the annual Stuff-a-Cruiser event, tentatively planned for Saturday, Dec. 10 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information, contact Officer Tom Gallo, community services division at (860) 378-1694.

To comment on this story or to contact staff writer Jen Cardines, email her at JCardines@SouthingtonObserver.com.

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