Here's a letter from Bristol resident Laura Minor:
It’s zucchini letter time again and I hope I have some zucchinis to give away! In early summer, for many years, I write a letter to the editor to remind all of my Bristol neighbors that our soup kitchens and shelters are in need of our garden’s produce.
Last year, I thought I might get a good yield of squash but that dream was destroyed by bugs, slugs and mildew. I was able to get some beans and tomatoes and a few other assorted vegetables over to all of our wonderful agencies with staff and volunteers who provide food all year long for folks who need it. This year, it’s so far, so good. I am hoping for squash along with my beans and peas and corn.
When you are packing up your produce don’t forget to add in some of the other things that are needed. I always check with each site for their updated lists. Bring your extra plastic bags down to the food pantries. Drop off some grocery store gift cards. Many of our fellow Bristolites need our generosity and I hope those of you who can, will be generous.
Salvation Army (860-583-4651) – 19 Stearns St. - Fresh veggies and fruits, canned food (vegetables, soups, fruits, stews, etc.), cereal, pasta, peanut butter, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoos, deodorants, soaps, diapers, coffee, after-shave, razors, and paper goods.
Christian Fellowship Center (860-589-0662) 43 Prospect St.– Drop off Tuesday through Friday (8:30-4:30) - fresh fruit and veggies, eggs, oil, clean plastic grocery bags, soda (for their volunteers), non-perishable goods (including canned gravy and vegetables), dishwasher detergent, styrofoam soup bowls and plastic spoons, Cremora, herbs, etc. (oregano, parsley, basil, garlic, salt) and mayonnaise. Gift cards are always good to purchase perishable foods for their storehouse. They always need volunteers.
Zion Lutheran Soup Kitchen (860-589-7744) – 27 Judd St. Drop off fruits, veggies and baked goods from Monday through Thursday ONLY. They need paper goods, coffee, canned juice, powdered juice/drinks (Crystal Light, etc.)
St. Vincent DePaul Shelter (860-589-9098) –Jacobs St. – Fruits and vegetables, of course. Coffee and drink mixes (already sweetened) – otherwise the folks at the shelter only drink water. The maintenance man is wishing for concrete floor paint (up to 20 gallons) and painting accessories - brushes, rollers, trays, tape, etc). The cook has a blender on her wish list. Also, leftover containers. BIG ones – the small ones don’t help. Always needed: toilet paper, facial tissue, and paper towels. Over-the-counter medications that you would find in your medicine cabinet: Ibuprofen, acetaminophen, antacid tablets, Pepto-Bismol, anti-diarrhea medicine, Band Aids, Neosporin or Bacitracin, cough medicine (NON ALCOHOL ONLY) and allergy medicine, mouthwash (NON ALCOHOL ONLY), foot spray and/or powder, ear plugs and/or Breathe-Right strips for snoring, and deodorant (men & women). For the kitchen: dish detergent, paper napkins, flatware (especially spoons & forks, aluminum foil, trash bags - all sizes, Zip-Lock bags - all sizes, liquid bleach and dryer sheets. Of course, grocery store gift cards are great as are bus tokens and passes.
I know that there are food pantries in other religious organizations for members, if you belong to a group that does this, please find out what is needed and help out as you can. Bristol is one of the most generous communities I know. Let’s do even more than we did last year.