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After more than a year of preparations, St Rose of Lima Roman Catholic Church has announced that there will be a ceremony to break ground for FAITH Food Pantry’s permanent building on Thursday, October 26, at noon.
FAITH was founded by Reverend Joan Horwitt on June 21, 1983. It called St John’s Episcopal Church in Sandy Hook home for more than 30 years.
The nonprofit, nondenominational group is entirely volunteer based and as its full name — Food Assistance, Immediate Temporary Help — indicates, its mission is to help any Newtown resident in need of food, without any questions or judgement.
Unfortunately, with the news that St John’s was closing its doors, FAITH lost its longtime location in September 2016, and was forced into the uncertainty of finding a place to move to.
Having more than doubled the number of families it assists within the last decade, FAITH knew that with so many residents depending on them, closing or merging with another pantry was not a viable option.
When St Rose heard that FAITH was looking for a new location, they reached out and offered to donate land on their property for FAITH to build a permanent location.
FAITH graciously accepted.
“We’re excited to be part of St Rose,” Lee Paulsen, president of FAITH Food Pantry, said.
Meanwhile, as plans were being put in to place for the St Rose location, Tier ONE Machining donated a temporary facility to FAITH at Pecks Lane, so it could continue operating and serving residents in need, after leaving St John’s.
“Tier ONE has been wonderful to us,” Mrs Paulsen said.
Even with the move, FAITH was still able to provide 1,200 families with food assistance in 2016.
In preparation for the funding needed for their permanent building, FAITH hoped to reach all residents, businesses, and churches in the community with a town-wide letter in September.
The letter explained, “We, now, have a wonderful opportunity to build a new, permanent facility on the grounds of St Rose of Lima Parish. But we need your help to make this dream come to fruition… We continue to rely on food donations, cash contributions, and volunteer workers from local residents and businesses to support our mission.”
Since distributing the letter, Mrs Paulsen said, “The response has been phenomenal.”
Right now, Mrs Paulsen anticipates the building will be done sometime early next year, weather permitting.
In the meantime, as FAITH’s letter to Newtown said, “No gift is too small.”
FAITH is still operating and accepting food and monetary donations at its 31 Pecks Lane location on Tuesdays, from 10 am to noon, and Thursdays, from 6 to 7:30 pm.
Mrs Paulsen asks that food not be dropped off outside those hours, and can instead be brought to various locations around town, including the C.H. Booth Library and The Newtown Bee’s office, which have donation boxes onsite.
Those able to help contribute to the building costs can send a tax-deductible donation to FAITH Food Pantry of Newtown, Inc, PO Box 53, Newtown CT 06470 (Checks made payable to FAITH Food Pantry of Newtown, Inc, for “food fund” or “building fund”). Donations can also be made online by visiting newtownfoodpantry.org.
For more information, call Lee Paulsen at 203-426-5604 or Jill LeBlanc at 203-837-0816.