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Guest opinion: Community takes up fight against hunger


Going hungry any time of the year is bad and we work hard at the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center to prevent that tragedy for residents in our service area, the southeastern corner of Connecticut and the southwestern edge of Rhode Island.

On top of that each year at the holidays we make a special effort to bring joy to peoples’ lives, and put a festive meal on their tables. To do this, we rely on the generosity of local residents, the United Way and businesses that donate directly, or organize drives to help us fill our emergency food pantry and at Thanksgiving and Christmas through our holiday food boxes.

The community came through at Thanksgiving and we were able to deliver 500 boxes of holiday cheer, including turkeys and all the fixings. Now, it’s crunch time at the PNC for Christmas and we still have a ways to go.

As of earlier this week, we were still in need of 100 turkeys, which is why I’ve written this appeal. Time is running out.

It would take more space than is available to outline the incredible generosity being demonstrated in this community. There are so many who step forward, but I want to mention just two examples of the kind of support.

I’m not sure how this happened, but a young man who is serving in our military in Afghanistan heard of our need for turkeys. He provided a significant amount of money to his mother, a Westerly resident, to buy turkeys for our holiday distribution. We are deeply grateful, and humbled, by his support.

Closer to home, David and Wendy Eck at the Dog Watch Café in Stonington Borough have mounted a creative campaign as they have since 2009, and the turkey donations from their customers have been mounting.

What began as a much appreciated gesture five years ago has evolved into a tradition of giving at the Dog Watch. Not only that, it is part of a broader campaign of giving back to the community. Each year the Ecks give patrons a chance to add at least $12 to their bill to buy a turkey. There’s an online giving component that will also allow anyone who visits the website to donate up to $120 to purchase ten turkeys. The site also points out that Sysco Systems, the food wholesaler, has given Dog Watch a great price, so the turkey donation is stretched even farther.

One Dog Watch devotee even wrote a check for $1,000. It is hard to adequately express our appreciation for such a caring attitude and a creative way to turn that desire to do good into a truly effective way of giving back to the community.

Any additional help would be greatly appreciated. The Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center is at 27 Chase Street, Pawcatuck. Our phone number is 860-599-3285.

Vicki Anderson is Executive Director of the Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center.



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