Time to Give Thanks

November 21, 2012

Over the past month, Americans have been challenged with flooding, power outages and other issues brought to our coastline by Hurricane Sandy. While thousands struggled without power for weeks in New York and New Jersey, our country has come together to provide support to these communities during the recovery process.

With the arrival of Thanksgiving, it is a good time to step back and be thankful for all that we have been given. These days, it might seem that we are sometimes just too busy to appreciate the simple things in life that we might take for granted. Whether it’s family, a job, friends or something else, now is a good time to acknowledge how lucky we truly are.

While many of us will be sitting down to eat a fulfilling meal with our families and friends, we must not forget those who are less fortunate. This week, I would like to share some opportunities to give back to our community.

In Torrington, the Friendly Hands Food Bank operates year-round to take in and distribute food, clothing and goods for our community. In recent years, they have grown to serve over 500 families each year. If you would like to help, Friendly Hands is always welcoming volunteers and donations of non-perishable foods, some perishable items (such as bread, butter, eggs, ham and turkey) and toys and clothing for children. They are located at 50 King Street and may be reached by phone at 860-482-3338 or by email at [email protected].

In Avon, Gifts of Love is a nonprofit organization providing basic needs, such as food, clothing, furniture, household items and energy assistance to people in the Greater Hartford area. Their programs help those who do not qualify for many government programs but who are facing a short-term crisis due to reduced working hours, illness, divorce, death of a spouse/partner or another significant unexpected increase in expenses. Gifts of Love is located at 35 East Main Street and may be reached by phone at 860-676-2323. For more information, please visit their website at www.giftsoflovect.org.

New Opportunities, Inc. is a community action agency that offers a variety of social service programs designed to eliminate poverty and assist those in need in northwest Connecticut. Their mission is to improve the quality of life for low-income, elderly and disabled communities by providing the necessary resources to increase their standard of living, foster self-improvement and maximize self-empowerment. New Opportunities is always welcoming volunteers and donations. Their Torrington office is located at 138 Migeon Avenue and may be reached by phone at 860-482-9749. To learn more, please visit their website at www.newoppinc.org.

Two regional organizations serving towns in our area could also use some help. The Connecticut Food Bank and Foodshare, Inc. work with businesses, community organizations and individuals to accept donations, warehouse and transport food to hundreds of local soup kitchens, shelters, food pantries and more. Both organizations are seeking volunteers and donations of food. For more information, please visit their websites at www.ctfoodbank.org and www.foodshare.org.

These are just some of the many opportunities that are currently available to give back to our community. Thanksgiving is an excellent occasion to reflect upon all that we have been given and to help others who are less fortunate. I wish you and your family all the best this Thanksgiving holiday!