Summer collection helps stock Windsor Food Bank shelves

By Jennifer Coe - ReminderNews
Windsor - posted Tue., Jul. 30, 2013
Emma and Katie Wilkos stand in front of the Windsor Food Bank table at Stop & Shop on July 13, passing out flyers to shoppers in the hopes that they will purchase a donation for the pantry. Courtesy photo. - Contributed Photo

Come Christmas and Thanksgiving-time, most people think about donating to their local food pantry. In the fall and winter, many shoppers will pick up an extra can of cranberries, frozen turkey or stuffing mix and drop it off in one of the Windsor Food Bank boxes at the local grocery store. During the summer months, though, when many families are traveling, the needs of the food bank tend to fall lower down on the list of priorities. Nevertheless, the clientele of the food bank still depend on stocked shelves to feed their families every week.

“It’s a tough time of year,” said Windsor Social Services Director Kristen Formanek. “We desperately need donations.”

In fact, Formanek went on to say that during the summer months, many families need even more food, as children who might typically be eating one or two meals a day at school are home.

That is why when the Wilkos family, who are Windsor residents, decided to set up a collection inside of Stop & Shop on July 13, their services were so gladly received.

“In the Girl Scouts,” said Lynn Wilkos, “we talk about things we can do for the community.” Both of her girls, Emma and Katie, are Girl Scouts through St. Gabriel’s School.

The girls spent a few hours at Stop & Shop passing out flyers listing items which were need by the food bank. Instead of being at home amongst their toys, these girls took a very hot Saturday afternoon to help the people in Windsor.

One story stood out to the girls in particular: A woman approached the girls and put in a donation of over $30. She told the girls the story of how a man had recently purchased all of her groceries for her. She wanted to “pay it forward” by giving the same amount of money to the girls for the food bank collection.

“They were really touched,” said Wilkos. “It was an amazing lesson for them.”

The meaning of what had occurred was not lost on the girls.

“It made me want to do a good deed for someone else,” said Katie. “It felt good to know I was helping the people in need.”

Her sister agreed. “If we didn’t hand out the flyers, they wouldn’t have known about it,” Emma said. “A lot of families would be hungry.”

“We definitely need donations,” said Formanek.

While Emma and Katie were collecting food, one resident gave the girls a little pocket money for their hard work. One of them put it right in the donation box and the other went inside and purchased groceries for the collection.

The food bank is currently in need of: pasta, pasta sauce, cereal, peanut butter and jelly, and canned meals like ravioli. If you are a gardener, and you have bounty from your garden to share with Windsor residents, check out the produce donation site

The Windsor Food Bank accepts donations Monday and Tuesday after 11:30 a.m., Wednesdays and Thursdays before 1 p.m. and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Call Windsor Social Services at 860-285-1839 for more information.

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