(The following story appeared in The Plainville Citizen Thanksgiving week, 2016.)
Long-range planning, holiday demands make for busy season at food pantry
November 22, 2016 – With the Plainville Community Food Pantry in the midst of another demanding holiday season, meeting the needs of the community during the agency’s busiest time of year is not the only thing Executive Director Susie Woerz and staff have on their plates.
Taking steps to secure the future for the 40-year-old pantry – with a little help from the Community Foundation of Greater New Britain – is also high on the priority list.
The food pantry is in the midst of a strategic planning process to set a course for the future. Over the past year, Woerz and food pantry grants writer Justin Woerz have been taking part in a timely series of workshops funded by the Community Foundation designed to help resource-challenged local agencies and organizations develop a long-range plan.
“This program came along for us at a perfect time,” says Susie Woerz of the Capacity-Building Series funded by the Community Foundation’s Catalyst Fund. “It really got me thinking about big-picture issues we often don’t have time to think about because we are so occupied with sustaining our programs day-to-day.”
The workshops, funded by the foundation and provided by consultants Danosky & Associates of New Milford, were described by Woerz as “energizing.”
The food pantry provides food, clothing, emergency energy assistance, furniture and household items, crisis intervention and referral services to Plainville residents in need. Those experiencing a crisis must complete an application process to determine eligibility.
More than 270 Plainville households benefited from food pantry programs in 2015, and the pantry distributed more than 100,000 pounds of food.
The holidays are typically the busiest time of year for the pantry, Woerz says, and this year is no exception. The pantry’s “holiday giving” letter seeking support was recently mailed to donors and friends, and this week the pantry will be distributing its annual Thanksgiving baskets to clients.
The pantry is also in the process of collecting donations of toys for its “Toy Night” on Monday, Dec. 12, which is open to clients enrolled in the program. The food pantry is seeking the donation of new, unwrapped toys, as well as gift cards to retailers such as Dick’s, Kohl’s, Old Navy, Game Stop and others. And donations of food items are, of course, always welcome.
“We truly appreciate how the community has always risen to the challenge of the holiday season,” says Woerz.
The Food Pantry, at 54 South Canal St., is open for clients and donations Monday 1 to 6 p.m., and Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to noon, and 1 to 3 p.m.
For information or to make a donation, visit www.plainvillefoodpantry.org or call 860-747-1919.