Local soup kitchens, food pantries prepare for holiday season

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Local food pantries and soup kitchens are heading into a busy time of the year with plans to assist families in the community during the holiday season. 

The Cheshire Community Food Pantry provides groceries for residents in need, allowing clients to choose items they need, which provides assistance while also giving families independence. 

“Right now some of the clients have been expressing concerns about Thanksgiving meals,” said Cheshire Community Food Pantry Executive Director Kerry Walsh. “We have a pretty solid plan to make sure everyone has a turkey with all the fixings. We’re ready and prepared to make sure all of our clients have a happy Thanksgiving this year.” 

Families will also have the option of chicken as the main entree. The meals can be picked up on Thanksgiving at the pantry, 175 Sandbox Road.  

For Christmas, the pantry will hold its “Holiday Bazaar”. 

“The children can come in on a Saturday and choose gifts for their family.” Walsh said. “We will be wrapping them so that the kids can have something that their parents haven't seen and it’s a surprise.”

Anyone that wants to donate can drop off unopened and unused items like slippers, candles and blankets at the pantry. 

Southington’s Bread for Life soup kitchen provides a hot lunch for clients that come to the building and those that are homebound. 

“We have seen a 50 percent increase overall in clients that need our services,” Executive Director Donna Ayer said. “We are doing great with people donating, which is wonderful. During the holidays everyone thinks of us.” 

In November, the Boys Scouts will be holding a food drive for Bread for Life. Ayer said local businesses will also be doing food collections for the soup kitchen. 

For Thanksgiving, Bread for Life will be serving a holiday meal the Wednesday before Thanksgiving as to not compete with a local church that provides meals for Southington families on Thanksgiving day. 

For Christmas, Bread for Life gives small gift bags to their clients and welcomes any donations like personal care items, blankets or gift cards. 

“Some people tell us this is the only gift that they receive,” Ayer said. “We make bags with whatever comes in, so that people can have something nice.” 

In Meriden, the soup kitchen at 460 Broad Street serves free nutritious meals Monday to Friday from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Meals usually consist of soup, entree, salad, beverage and desserts. 

Executive Director Jackie Zdeb said because of the community support, the soup kitchen has been running well. 

“We’re just very grateful to the residents and businesses in the city of Meriden for all the support they’ve given us,” she said. 

Twitter: @faith_williams2


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