Hundreds of food items were donated to the West Hartford Food Pantry thanks to the hard work of Morley Elementary School students in grades K-2.
By Keith Griffin
The coffers at the West Hartford Food Pantry are in much better condition today, thanks to the annual Morley Elementary School Red Wagon Trek. Cold temperatures didn’t chill the enthusiasm of the 140 students as they made their annual 1.22-mile trip to Town Hall with their red wagons laden with non-perishable food for the town’s Food Pantry.
Morley Principal Ryan Cleary was visibly proud of his students. He said they collected over 2,000 food items. An exact count wasn’t possible as items poured in until the 50 red wagons were ready to start the trek.
As the children sat crisscross outside of town hall, Cleary told them, “When people work together, great things happen.” He compared the excitement the children felt earlier this week when they received candy on Halloween to the happiness that people receiving their donations will feel because they do not have to go hungry.
Mayor Shari Cantor congratulated the students. She said her four children went to Morley with her oldest taking part in the premier red wagon trek 29 years ago. “You will remember the warmth in your heart about doing something good,” she said, adding her children still have their T-shirts all these years later.
“Morley School’s Red Wagon Food Drive provides a significant boost to West Hartford’s food pantry,” said Nancy Stockman, Food Pantry coordinator. She said the coldness of the morning served as a contrast of sorts. “Your kindness and love for the community has warmed my heart,” she told them.
The journey was supported by the local police and fire departments, who escorted the children. Scores of proud parents walked alongside, keeping the children pointed straight ahead as they raced along the sidewalks to make their donations. Also on hand were the town’s 11 elementary school principals and various district administrators.
The West Hartford Food Pantry offers immediate and meaningful support to families in crisis. Each year, the Food Pantry distributes thousands of bags of food to West Hartford residents in need. With rising fuel and food costs, this winter will be critical for lower-income households. It has responded to this need thus far thanks to the generosity of its residents, schools, faith communities, and businesses.
The Food Pantry’s greatest needs are soup, baked beans, rice, canned fruit, apple sauce, pasta and sauce, peanut butter (16-18 oz.), and shelf-stable milk (32 oz.). Other commonly donated items include jelly, cold cereal, canned chicken and macaroni and cheese.
Food donations can be dropped off in the Town Hall lobby at the Customer Service Desk, Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Financial contributions may be sent to: Town That Cares, 50 South Main St., Room 130, West Hartford, CT 06107.
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