Food shelf works with local businesses and groups to stay afloat

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Thu., Feb. 28, 2013
Contributed
Charles Miller of ShopRite helps unload hundreds of pounds of donated food alongside Enfield Food Shelf Executive Director Linda Bridge. Photos contributed. - Contributed Photo

What started out as a few members of the Enfield Church women donating food from their own pantries to a couple of families that had been displaced or fallen on hard times has slowly grown over the past 30 years to serve more than 1,000 registered families, 700 of which have children, as part of the Enfield Food Shelf.

The need is so great at the food shelf that they now provide more than 16 pounds of groceries to an average of 400 families per week. Despite tremendous help and donations from local civic organizations, businesses and individuals, the need continues to grow faster than the monetary and supply contributions. Food Shelf Executive Director Linda Bridge said that it has become a "balancing act for me to try to make sure we can keep our doors open to continue to feed all the people.” She has decided to close the food shelf the first week of every month starting in April to keep the food shelf stocked and open for many years to come.

People from all walks of life enter into the food shelf for assistance each month, from the elderly to people who recently fell upon unemployment. Most use the food shelf as a last resort, after exhausting all other possibilities and options, because they do not want to be seen as needy.

“I love what’s going on here because it really is a great help to the people,” said Michael Covaleski, a single father with a 5-year-old child. “I appreciate it every time I come in here; the volunteers and service are great and everything works out well.”

Barbara Costas has been a member of the Enfield Food Shelf since its inception with the Enfield Church women. She said that she has stayed on with the organization since the beginning because there is nothing like being there to help someone through their day. She said that she has built relationships with many people throughout the years, adding that helping someone through their day or week by wishing them well or giving a hug can make all the difference in the world.

“Coming here may be a relief for the people coming in for food, but it is also a relief for me,” Costas said. “My husband has Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s and each week I escape here for a few hours to help me get through my week as well.”

Volunteer Bill Kweder thinks that the layout is another part of what makes the food shelf so special. To promote efficiency and reduce wasting of food, the building is laid out like a small grocery store, so that families can pick and choose what items and groceries they can use.

To shop for food or register, visit the food shelf located at 96 Alden Ave. on Wednesdays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m., and Thursdays between 2 and 6:30 p.m. For more information call 860-741-7321 or visit www.enfieldfoodshelf.org.


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