St. James School turns into grocery store for a day
By Denise Coffey - Staff Writer
Killingly - posted Tue., Nov. 29, 2011
St. James School in Danielson was turned into a grocery store on Nov. 22. The gym floor was covered in heavy duty mats and folding tables were set up and covered in cloth tablecloths. Produce, canned goods and boxed items were arranged for shoppers to choose from. Produce spilled out of restocking boxes behind the U-shaped supermarket “aisle.”
It was all part of the Thanksgiving Basket Food Drive sponsored by Friends of Assisi. FOA is the only choice-based food pantry in the area. Families who registered for Thanksgiving Day baskets could select the food that went into their baskets. They could choose from a menu that included appetizers, fresh vegetables, nuts, apples and pies. Turkeys were de rigueur.
The Rev. John O'Neill, pastor of St. James Church, surveyed the food that took over his school's basketball court. “The church is more than the church,” he said. “The school is more than the school. It's the people that are overlooked.”
Volunteers came in from area schools, churches and businesses to set up the gym and fill the tables with food. Students helped registrants shop and carry food to their cars. There were even volunteers who helped feed the volunteers. There were crock pots full of chili and soup for the asking. Hot dogs, baked goods, coffee and drinks were available all day long.
By the end of the day, FOA Director Jean Cyr expected more than 350 Thanksgiving meals would have been distributed, compliments of the entire community.