On Thursday, March 12, a truck pulled up to the Access Community Action Agency Food Bank in Willimantic and delivered 50,000 meals that had been packaged that morning by the students of Tolland High School. This tremendous donation was the result of the efforts of the Tolland High School DECA club, who hosted a large-scale community service event called Tolland Triumphs Over Hunger.
The project empowered students, staff, and community members to work together to positively affect change in the lives of others. Guided by the charity organization Feeding Children Everywhere, more than 900 Tolland students, staff and community members participated in a meal packing event in the school’s gymnasium. The project was initiated by students Kayleigh McManaman and Jordan Lyonnais with a goal to raise $10,000 in order to package 40,000 meals. Students raised a total of $12,801.60 through student and community donations and corporate sponsors. J.P. Morgan Chase matched the school’s donation through the campaign known as “Step Up for World Hunger”. In less than two hours, 111,744 meals were packed. Half of the meals were sent to needy children in Kenya, with the remainder donated to Access to distribute throughout the local
To thank the students for their hard work and generosity to their neighbors, Access Food Bank Director Kim Brod-Houle, Intake Specialist Jodi Parent and Community Engagement staff Elisha Sherman and Karen Adamson attended a DECA club meeting at Tolland High School on April 9th. They talked with the students about the families they helped with this donation, and the needs of their neighbors in Windham and Tolland Counties. Last year, the Access Food Banks distributed 98,544 meals from its locations in Willimantic and Danielson, and its mobile food bank which visits rural communities in northeastern Connecticut. There are additional food banks supported by churches, municipalities, and nonprofit organizations throughout the two counties, with emergency food distribution for families that come from every town in the region. Access is distributing the donations from Tolland High School to these other locations so that the efforts of the students can have a broad impact throughout local communities.
“As we talked to the students, it was apparent that this fundraising effort was an accomplishment that they were proud of and they were pleased to find out that they had made a significant impact locally,” said Karen Adamson from Access. “We hope this experience will have a lasting impact on these students as they become caring adults who make service to the community a lifelong practice.”The Access Community Action Agency serves Windham and Tolland Counties, CT. Founded in 1965,
Access’s mission is to create opportunities that empower people and communities to achieve and sustain economic stability. Access offers a number of community-based programs in support of this mission, including provision of supplemental food, emergency shelter, energy assistance, energy conservation services, job and life skills training, youth mentoring, group homes, senior housing and more for low-income families and individuals. For more information about Access’ services, call (860) 450-7400 in the Willimantic area, (860) 412-1600 in the Danielson area, or visit www.accessagency.org.