Little Free Pantry food collection to benefit Shelton families

SHELTON — The Little Free Pantry at Church of the Good Shepherd has been a source of nourishment for many local people since its creation in April. 

Linda Goodman, the pantry’s administrator and longtime church member, said the reception has been incredible, with people of all ages grabbing everything from pasta and snacks to pet food. 

“We want everyone, regardless of level of need to enjoy a snack, a quick meal, or some food to tide them over for a couple days,” said Goodman, also a longtime volunteer for the Derby and Ansonia fire departments. “I wanted this to explode, and it has. It has brought great joy to a lot of people.” 

The success of the pantry, combined with the growing numbers suffering from food insecurity, prompted Goodman to seek to expand the operation, at least for this Thanksgiving. 

She said she reached out to David Morgan, president/CEO of the Valley-based nonprofit agency TEAM, Inc., and now 15 Shelton families dealing with food insecurity will be having a Thanksgiving meal this year. 

Goodman said deliveries will be made to families from a list provided to the pantry food crew by TEAM, which offers services to families and individuals from early childhood to the elderly in the Naugatuck Valley, including Shelton. 

“I have noticed, in general, the need has become greater as the year has progressed,” Goodman said about those suffering from food insecurity. 

Morgan said TEAM has remained committed to addressing food insecurity and other key quality of life issues including housing, childcare, and employability. 

“Our partnerships continue to grow with many food pantries and other community organizations walking the same path as TEAM – and we’re excited to build the work together with Little Free Pantry at Good Shepherd,” Morgan said. 

The recent Valley Community Index data and information illustrated significant needs around these areas including food, according to Morgan. 

“TEAM continues to respond to a growing need in this area across all ages and all walks of life,” Morgan said. 

Morgan added TEAM has seen an 11 percent increase in people coming to its organization for heating assistance. Morgan added that that data is two weeks old, and “it feels as if it’s escalating by the day. And the need for housing assistance is 81 percent higher than this time one year ago. 

“We’re seeing a 28 percent increase in people seeking help with food assistance – based on local, regional food pantry data,” Morgan said. “TEAM is specifically addressing a significant level of food relief with our elderly nutrition program and Meals on Wheels – as well as our child nutrition programming and the coalition of food relief TEAM has built with its Bozzuto’s (a Connecticut food wholesaler) initiative to support pantries." 

To create these meals, the Little Free Pantry is holding a food collection Saturday at the Church of the Good Shepherd’s annual Cookie Express Christmas Fair which runs from 10 to 3 at the church’s 182 Coram Ave. location. 

The meals will consist of a frozen turkey and side dishes ranging from green beans, cranberry sauce, mash potatoes/yams, stuffing, rolls and gravy. The food crew will be collecting frozen turkeys and packages/boxes of side dishes at the fair. 

Monetary donations will also be accepted to buy food. Boxing of the meals will be done by the food crew and church parishioners on Nov. 20, and delivery will be later that afternoon.   

The Little Free Pantry is in the parking lot of the Church of the Good Shepherd. Items donated include canned vegetables, fruits, boxed and packaged cereal, pasta and sauce, pet food and more. 

Donations can be made at any time if there is room. 

For more information, contact Linda Goodman, pantry Facebook administrator and a member of the food crew, at 203-231-2987 or lfpgoodshepherdsheltonct@hotmail.com. On Facebook, the pantry can be found at Little Free Pantry at Good Shepherd, Shelton, CT.   

brian.gioiele@hearstmediact.com