Communities come together to support Spooner House, Turtle Shell fund

The Valley Has a Heart food drive and In Love and Chocolate were deemed a success by organizers. Every year the need at the Spooner House rises, and the Turtle Fund continues to bring art to those who need it.

“We did actually very well,” said Tony Vellucci, development officer at the ACT Spooner House. “We were able to collect enough to get through the very difficult months.”

In an interview Tuesday morning, Vellucci said they were still counting this weekend’s donations. But he did say, “We were able to reach that goal and surpass it.”

The 11th annual Valley Has a Heart food collection was held Saturday at the Ansonia, Seymour and Shelton Stop & Shops. The food collected in Seymour and Shelton went right to the Valley Food Bank at the Spooner House. The collection in Ansonia went to the satellite office at Christ Episcopal Church, 56 Cliff Street. Vellucci praised the staff at all of the Stop & Shops for helping with the collection and making sure there were enough carts to hold all of the food.

On Sunday, there was the In Love and Chocolate annual event at the Courtyard by Marriott in Shelton. The event’s proceeds went to the Spooner House and the Mary A. Schmecker Turtle Shell Fund (which helps promote the arts to children). During the chocolate-filled event, vendors from the area had food to sample, including chocolate-covered bacon from Smoke & Bones in Derby, brownies from Chaves Bakery in Seymour and chocolate-covered popcorn from Nikki’s Candy Boutique in Shelton.

“It is nice to have a community that will respond” regularly, Vellucci said. “I can’t begin to thank them enough.”

The local vendors at In Love and Chocolate had a positive outlook on the event, he said.

“It’s just wonderful to see all these business in one room and they don’t have to compete,” Vellucci said one vendor told him. He said besides having the businesses join together for a cause, it helps raise community awareness.

“Small businesses are making a comeback,” Vellucci said.

Spooner House

In 2012, the Spooner House gave out 153,600 meals from the food bank, up from 2011, when there were 137,000, and five years ago, when a little more than 60,000 meals were provided. The meals are given each month, and are enough for one week of meals, three times a day.

“Every year it’s creeping up,” said Vellucci.

The homeless shelter fed more than 2,800 people, including 1,000 children.

Those unable to donate this weekend are still encouraged to help. Checks may be made payable and mailed to Area Congregations Together Inc., Spooner House, 30 Todd Road, Shelton 06484. Donations may also be made via PayPal by clicking on the Donate button at

Deliveries of nonperishable food items are also welcomed at the Todd Road location Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays, 9 to 1. To set up a special time for food delivery, call 203-225-0453.

In Ansonia, donations for the Spooner House food bank may also be brought to the office at Christ Episcopal Church, 56 Cliff Street, Monday through Friday, 9 to 1, or call 203-734-2715 to arrange for drop-offs at another time.