A word from our Worshipful Master…
Quarantine Day 24
So I just sent out a note a few days ago. But I wanted to get a note out for those in need in our community. A thought that keeps going through my head day to day is “should you ever hereafter meet a friend, in distress, you must contribute as liberally to their relief as you can without injury to yourself”. I have racked my brain to see what I could do to help. So with that, thanks to Brother Bill Breed, I have been in communication with Susan from the Pacatuck Neighborhood Center (PNC). I have found out that they are in need of assistance. I asked her to send me a note on what has changed and what challenges they have at the center. She sent me this note;
You asked what the PNC was doing to help the community during COVID-19 crisis. We sent home 80 volunteers who helped on a monthly basis on March 13th. Since that date, our staff of 7 has been running the food pantry and continuing to provide utilities, heating and financial assistance.
Our food pantry is open from 11:00 to 3:00, M,T,Th,F. On Fridays we also provide food to families whose children receive free school lunches (45 pounds of food per child). Since March 18th more than 70 new people have come to the food pantry. Typically 1,400+ people use the food pantry routinely. They are homeless or reside in Stonington, North Stonington or Westerly. With the layoffs and business closures, we are expecting the number of new clients to increase dramatically in the next several weeks.
Our van picks up food from local markets M – F and delivers food to 3 Stonington housing complexes and the North Stonington Senior Center each week. We have been able to deliver food to the homes of people who have not been able to travel to the PNC to pick up food. We will likely need volunteer drivers in the future and are accepting driving records of people who would like to deliver meals using their own vehicles. This is required by our insurance carrier.
We shop for food every week at the Gemma Moran Food Pantry/United Way. Mystic Rotarians have volunteered to help load the van (staff who had been loading the van are 3 women over age 50). In the past, we have supplemented the food pantry by shopping at local groceries. This became a challenge because they could not supply our large need for food. In addition, we did not want to ask people to bring donations of food for 2 reasons – to protect our small and aging staff from the virus and to protect donors who may leave their homes to bring food. Instead, we are asking donors to provide monetary assistance through our website www.pawcatuckneighborhoodcenter.org or send a donation to P.O. Box 1697, Pawcatuck, CT 06379.
Last night we had a strong wind storm and snow is possible for Friday. People still need heat. We have a PNC fuel fund to get oil delivered to homes that have run out. Our caseworker does this remotely.
We continue to provide pet food and baby food/diapers to those who need it. We also are distributing personal hygiene items.
Thanks so much for reaching out. Best regards,
Susan Sedensky, J.D.
Pawcatuck Neighborhood Center
I had 2 takeaways from that message. Obviously they need financial support to keep providing necessary food in this time of need. So I will be having our annual donations moved and a check sent as soon as possible. And the second, is that if there are any brothers that would feel safe supporting some physical work/driving for the center, please let me know and I will get Susan in touch with you.
xx/xx/2020; Who knows, currently awaiting stabilization and guidance from above.