By Jennifer Sprague
Middlesex United Way
One of the best parts of a nonprofit career is the opportunity to witness the generosity of others.
This past weekend, the Middlesex United Way Young Leaders Society hosted two Fill-a-Bus food drives at Price Chopper and Stop & Shop in Middletown to collect non-perishable food items for the Middletown Community Thanksgiving Project. The project feeds 1,000 Middletown families who could not otherwise afford to purchase Thanksgiving dinner.
In just five hours, at two stores, we filled two buses (donated by Dattco) with:
- 257 cans of sweet potatoes
- 371 packages of stuffing
- 553 cans/jars of gravy
- 477 cans of green beans
- 415 cans of corn
- 1050 lbs of onions
- 24 cans cranberry sauce
- 43 lbs of potatoes
- $249 in cash
And that’s not even the best part.
The best part is when a mom and her young daughter hand us a bag of food, and mom teaches an important lesson: “Sometimes people are hungry — and we can help.”
Or when a retired veteran comes out with three full grocery bags of food for us, and says, “I wish I could do more but things are tight for me, too.”
Or when a young man goes in for a candy bar and comes out pushing a cart because he couldn’t carry all of the green beans, stuffing, and gravy he purchased to donate.
These stories happen over and over during the day. It’s such a moving experience to meet so many incredible people who want to take care of their neighbors.
Many of the volunteers have been participating for multiple years, and each year, we are taken aback once again by the generosity of our community. We’re are still surprised to see how many people bring out two, three, four or more shopping bags full of food to donate. We’re still amazed how many people purchase more items to donate than they purchased for themselves. And we're still in awe when someone admits that though times are tough for them, they found a way to share what little they have with others.
I am proud to call this city my home, and I’m proud and to work for an organization that gives people the opportunity to take care of one another. Thank you, Middletown, for your generous spirit.