By SHERIDAN CYR
Last week, Janet Mellon spoke candidly to Southington superintendent of schools Timothy Connellan when the community services executive director bumped into him at a community function. Mellon shared that SCS was in dire need of donations, but she could never have predicted the results of that chance encounter.
When he returned to his office, Connellan sent a communication to SPS families to let them know about the plight of SCS’s food pantry. Students, administrators, and PTO groups leapt into action.
Mellon reported never-before-seen numbers of donations in a time span of just two days after a much-needed boost from Southington Public Schools.
“Janet indicated that their supply of food used to help Southington families is dangerously low. If there is any way you can support Community Services by donating food, it would be greatly appreciated,” wrote the superintendent in an email to parents on Wednesday night. “The need is so urgent right now that I am reaching out directly.”
Over the course of Thursday and Friday collections, SCS received 7,435 pounds of food donations. They also received a few monetary donations, and even gained some volunteers looking to lend a hand in operations and events.
“In all the years I’ve been here, I’ve never seen a response like this before,” Mellon said. “The community truly came together, and the outpour of support has been absolutely amazing. Our pantry looks great and that’s to the community and the Board of Education.”
She pointed out that, while serving 80 families per day, the food that comes in goes out just as quickly. Certain items that seem to always be low include children’s’ snacks, canned meals like soups and spaghetti, and cereal. Before the superintendent’s message, Mellon said there were no snacks, no canned meals, and one single box of cereal.
“We want to give the absolute biggest thank you to the BOE and the superintendent. A true miracle happened because of them,” said Mellon on Friday. Now, the Southington families who come to SCS in need were able to receive items they usually don’t see, such as coffee and condiments. “The quantity of donations is of course amazing, but the variety of items is just wonderful.”
At the BOE meeting Thursday night, BOE chair Brian Goralski said, “SCS is always there for our community. Let’s be there for them.”
As Mellon said, the need is always ongoing at SCS, especially with the holiday season right around the corner.
Donations can be dropped off at 91 Norton St., Plantsville Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Call (860) 628-3761 with any questions.