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Gifts of Love 30th Anniversary

CT Style

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — 30 years of neighbors helping neighbors assist underemployed individuals and families receive basic needs services at our locations in Avon, Simsbury and Hartford, to assist in regaining stability, but most importantly Gifts of Love provides hope.

We are joined by Executive Director, Susan Pribyson along with Program Director, Denise Phillips from Gifts of Love to share about their 30th Anniversary.

One of only two organization who work solely with the ALICE Population – The United Way tracks the ALICE, Asset Limited, Income Constrained, but Employed! In CT it represents 1 in 8 people, but in the greater Hartford area it is now 1 in 6 families.  They refer to themselves as “Small but Mighty” – With 7 staff members, 600 volunteers, Gifts of Love supports close to 20,000 individuals a year.

How does Gifts of Love help their clients? Their clients receive services once a month for one year. When clients come in, they work with a volunteer to pick out clothing, housewares and food for their family. The food pantry is one of only 6 in the state that participated in SWAP – Supporting Wellness at Pantries. A stop light system that lets them know which product is low in sodium, sugar and salt.  Their pantry also has fresh produce grown on Gifts of Love Farm in Simsbury. 

Gifts of Love also provide a weekend food backpack program for the Farmington Valley, West Hartford and New Britain. Last year they were as high as 368 backpacks and this year expect numbers will be well over 400. Children are identified by the school as not having enough food to eat on the weekends, so they send 9-11 lbs. of food home with the child each week that school is in session. The food consists of easy to prepare meals, snacks and drinks for the whole family.

How can others get involved? Underemployed individuals seek to be an integral part of the community they need gifts of time, talent and treasures to help make this happen.

Gifts of Love volunteers are the lifeblood of the agency and perform essential functions on a day to day basis. They serve on the board of directors, stock the food pantry, sort and stock clothes and linens, assist in the holiday room, organize fundraisers and food drives, and public relations support, and help to stuff and distribute the weekend food backpacks.

Volunteers also assist in maintaining and harvesting at the Gifts of Love Farm Certified Organic Farm.

Upcoming Event:
October 12th “Barnside Brews” from 1-6pm at the Shoppes at Farmington Valley – all proceeds benefit Gifts of Love.
• Craft local brews from Hanging Hills Brewery
• Live music with Among the Acres
• Local Food Trucks

By popular demand Haunted Mini-Golf is returning to the Farmington Miniature-Golf and Ice Cream Parlor. This is family friendly event, each hole is decorated with a Halloween theme designed to for fun of all ages. Only $13 to play and all net proceeds go to Gifts of Love.

Gifts of Love reduces financial crises for working individuals and families in the Greater Hartford area offering short-term programs and education that support and improve sustainability.

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