Skinner Road School family fills truck for pantry

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Fri., Nov. 18, 2011
(L-r) Glenn Boglisch, Carrie Gumkowski, Al Gerner, Ryan Roups, Steve Ransome, Emily Linton, Steve Linton and Sara Linton stop for a photo op at the Hockanum Valley Community Council pantry.
(L-r) Glenn Boglisch, Carrie Gumkowski, Al Gerner, Ryan Roups, Steve Ransome, Emily Linton, Steve Linton and Sara Linton stop for a photo op at the Hockanum Valley Community Council pantry.

Steve Linton said that while he was watching and hearing reports of the tough economic times, unemployment and politicians blaming each other, he felt like somebody should do something. “Well,” he thought, “I’m somebody.”

On Nov. 11, Linton, his family, friends, and other members of the Skinner Road PTO held a food drive at the school from 3 to 7 p.m. and netted more than 1,600 non-perishable food items and $380 in cash donations.

Several weeks prior to Linton’s revelation, current Skinner PTO President Steve Ransom had gone to a monthly meeting of PTO leaders where HVCC CEO David Engelson spoke of the pantry’s low supplies, and then reported that fact back to a meeting of the SRS PTO.

Putting his need to "do something" together with that need, Linton quickly called upon friends and associates for assistance.

A co-worker was able to wrangle a 53-foot tractor-trailer truck from Coast to Coast Express of Windsor Locks, and several other local groups – including Don Bellingham and the Vernon Greenways volunteers – learned of the effort and offered help. The Greater Hartford Plumbing Heating and Cooling Contractors’ Association donated 24 cases of canned goods, and Shawn Kohler of Liberty Plumbing in Ellington donated the use of a generator for lighting.

The event was planned for Nov. 11, Veterans’ Day, when school was supposed to not be in session. However, after the early winter storm cancelled school for a week, the Board of Education chose to have schools hold classes on Veterans’ Day. That move caused the drive to shift gears and switch locations on school grounds.

“That made things kind of interesting for about a half an hour,” Linton said, of the overlapping time while school was being dismissed.
Linton said many of the school families donated items, but many passers-by also saw the sign, stopped in and donated.

“We had a lot of people driving by stop in and ask what we needed,” Linton said. “Then they went out to the store and came back. We also had people who were going to other events see us and give us their donated items.”

Linton said the Hockanum Valley officials were pleasantly surprised at how the drive did, in view of its relatively short time span and little notice. Linton said the group will likely hold other food drives, and will be coordinating with HVCC to determine what times of year will serve the greatest good. Typically, he said, most donations are given to local pantries around the holidays, so a spring drive may suit a timely need.


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